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R. F. JONES, M.A. 





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INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . xi 


FIRST ADDRESS : Introduction and General Survey . \^ij 

SECOND ADDRESS : The General Nature of the New 

Education ....... 19 

; THIRD ADDRESS : Description of the New Education 

(continued) .... . . 36 

JRTH ADDRESS^ The Chief Difference between the 
Germans and die other Peoples of Teutonic descent C. 52 

FIFTH ADDRESS : The Consequences of the Difference 

that has been indicated ..... 72 

SIXTH ADDRESS : German Characteristics as Ex 
hibited in History ...... 91 

SEVI-NTH ADDRESS : A Closer Study of the Originality 

and Characteristics of a People .... 108 

EIGHTH ADDRESS : What is a. People in the Higher 
Meaning of the Word, and what is Love of Father 
land ? I30 

NINTH ADDRESS : The Starting-point that Actually 
Exists for the New National Education of the 
Germans . . . . . m . 152 

TENTH ADDRESS : Further Definition of the German 

National Education ..... i6g 




/ ELEVENTH ADDRESS : On whom will the Carrying-out 

of this Scheme of Education devolve ? . .187 

TWELFTH ADDRESS : Concerning the Means for our 

Preservation until we attain our Main Object . 205 


THIRTEENTH ADDRESS : The same subject further 

considered ....... 223 

FOURTEENTH ADDRESS : Conclusion . . 248 


THIS translation is based on Vogt s edition of Fichte s 
Reden an die deutsche Nation in the Bibliothek pada- 
gogischer Klassiker, Langensalza, 1896. 

Mr Jones is responsible for the translation of Addresses 
4> 5> 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, and 14, Dr Turnbull for the remainder 
and for the introduction, which is intended primarily 
for the general reader. Each of us, however, has had 
the benefit of the other s suggestions and criticisms. 
We have endeavoured to make the rendering of the prin 
cipal technical terms uniform throughout, and have 
aimed at making the translation intelligible, while 
keeping close to the original German. 

We desire to express our deep gratitude to Prof. E. T. 
Campagnac for originally suggesting the translation, for 
showing the deepest interest in the work throughout, and 
for reading part of the MS. Dr Turnbull wishes also to 
thank Miss E. Purdie for a number of valuable comments 
on the rendering of the first address. 

R. F. J. 
G. H. T. 


JOHANN GOTTLIEB FICHTE was born on May 19, 1762, 
at Rammenau, a little village in Upper Lusatia between 
Dresden and Bautzen. His father, Christian Fichte, 
married the daughter of Johann Schurich, a ribbon 
manufacturer of the neighbouring town of Pulsnitz, to 
whom he was apprenticed, and returned to settle with 
his bride in Rammenau, where he managed to make a 
living by following his trade as a ribbon-weaver. Johann 
was the eldest of a family of six sons and one daughter, 
and at an early age showed signs of precocious intelligence, 
conscientiousness, and stubbornness. 

By a fortunate accident the young Johann came under 
the notice of Baron von Miltitz, a neighbouring land 
owner, who took him under his protection and sent him 
to be educated, first at Niederau by a Pastor Krebel, 
with whom he remained for nearly five years, and then 
in 1774 to the well-known school at Pforta near Naum- 
burg. His patron s death early in the same year made 
no difference to Fichte s education, for he received finan 
cial support from the relatives and friends of the baron 
until 1784, when his allowance was stopped by the latter s 
widow. He remained at Pforta until 1780, when he 
became a theological student first at Jena and then at 
Leipzig. He did not complete his course, but spent 
the years from 1784 to 1788 as a private tutor in various 



families, being unable to keep any post for long owing, 
x /it is said, to his proud temper and his original ideas on 
education. In 1788 he was a tutor at Zurich, where 
he met distinguished men like Lavater, and had the good 
fortune to fall in love with Johanna Rahn, the daughter 
of the Inspector of weights and measures. 

In March 1790, on the termination of his teaching 
engagement at Zurich, Fichte went to Leipzig and, while 
waiting for a suitable post, began to study Kant s philo 
sophy for the first time, in order to give some lessons on 
it to a pupil who had asked for them. This study revolu-_ 
tionized his ideas and converted him from determinism^ 
to a belief in moral freedom and the inherent moral 
worth of man. As a result of this he took the opportunity 
of visiting Kant at Konigsberg in 1791, after an abortive 
journey to Warsaw where he had been engaged to act 
as private tutor to a Polish family. He was warmly 
received by the old philosopher, who approved of an 
essay entitled Critique of all Revelation, which Fichte had 
written and sent to him. This essay was published in 
1792, after Fichte had gone, on Kant s recommendation, 
to Danzig to act as tutor to the family of the Count of 
Krockow. Owing to the publisher accidentally omitting 
the author s name, the essay was taken for a work of Kant, 
and Fichte s reputation was made. As a direct result of 
this he was able to marry Johanna Rahn on October 22, 


The tracts which the French Revolution inspired 
Fichte to write at this time, and which established the 
rights of the people on the basis of the inherent moral 
freedom of man, increased his fame ; but at the same time 
they caused moderate and conservative men to regard 
him as a radical and dangerous teacher. In spite of 
this, however, he was called to succeed Reinhold as 


Professor of^Philosophy at Jena in 1794^ Here he won 
immediate success as a lecturer, owing undoubtedly in 
great measure to the vigour of his thought and to his 
moral intensity and practical earnestness. His enemies, 
however, especially the bigoted supporters of the tradi 
tional constitution and of the established form of religion, 
never ceased trying to undermine his position and to 
secure his removal. They first complained that the 
course of general moral lectures which he gave on Sunday 
mornings was an attempt to overthrow Christianity and 
to introduce the worship of reason in its stead ; but, 
meeting with no success, they then attempted to turn 
to his disadvantage the efforts which Fichte was making 
to suppress the students associations. Throughout these 
negotiations Fichte, who saw that these associations were 
productive of much harm, was animated solely by the 
desire to develop and cultivate the moral and intellectual 
powers of his pupils. Though again unsuccessful, his 
enemies did not cease their attacks, and were at last 
victorious. In an article which appeared in the Philo 
sophical Journal, of which he had been joint editor 
since 1795, Fichte identified God with the moral order 
of the universe. Immediately his enemies raised the 
cry of atheism against him ; the Saxon government 
condemned the Journal and demanded Fichte s expulsion 
from Jena. The Grand Duke of Weimar would probably 
have imposed merely a formal censure, but Fichte would 
not submit to anything that he thought encroached 
upon his liberty of teaching. He unwisely threatened to 
resign in case of reprimand, and his resignation was 
accepted in 1799, mucn to his own discomfiture and the 
delight of his enemies. 

From Jena Fichte went to Berlin, where he was 
welcomed by Schelling, the Schlegels, Schleiermacher, 


and other adherents of what is called the romantic 
school. The sentimental atmosphere and moral laxity 
of this school, however, did not suit his austere character 
and strict principles, and friendship gradually changed 
to coldness and ultimately to antagonism. In 1805 he 
was appointed Professor at Erlangen, but the French 
victories over the Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt drove 
him to East Prussia, where he lived at Konigsberg from 
1806 to 1807. During his stay there he studied, amongst 
other things, the writings of Pestalozzi, whose Leonard 
and Gertrude he had read and approved of as early as 
1788, and whose personality and teaching methods had 
much impressed him at their first meeting in 1793. The 
Peace of Tilsit in July 1807 enabled him to return to 
^Berlin, and during the winter of 1807-1808 he disclosed 
Ihis views on the only true foundation of national pro- 
| sperity in the Addresses to the German Nation which he 
7 delivered in the Academy building there. He also 
drew up an elaborate and minute plan for the proposed 
new university at Berlin, and helped in its organization, 
being appointed Professor in 1810 and Rector in 1811. 
The latter office, however, he resigned after holding it 
for only four months, his domineering manner preventing 
any close co-operation with his colleagues. In 1814 his 
wife caught a fever while attending sick and wounded in 
Berlin. Thanks to Fichte s devoted care she recovered, 
but he was himself stricken with the same fever and died 
on January 27, 1814. 

Though short and thickset in build, Fichte had never 
theless an imposing presence ; this he undoubtedly 
owed to his sharp commanding features, his keen piercing 
eyes, and his high forehead surmounted by thick black 
hair. In speech and movement alike he was quick, 
impetuous, decisive, and energetic. Though inclined 


to be too abstract and very terse, he was a splendid 
orator. He tried in every way to win his audience and 
to make himself perfectly clear and intelligible to them ; 
his voice was always attuned to the sentiments he ex 
pressed, and his delivery never lacked clearness and 
precision. His discourse swept on like the course of a 
tempest, rousing rather than moving the souls of his 
hearers and stirring them to their very depths. His 
flights of imagination were great and mighty, and the 
pictures he conjured up for his listeners, though seldom 
charming, were always bold and massive ; his writings, 
though they contained little that was particularly beauti 
ful, were always characterized by force and weight. 
Appearance, speech, action all bore witness to -.the 
authority of the man and to the boldness and originality 
of his spirit. 

The most striking features of Fichte s character were 
the intensity and resoluteness with which he maintained 

. his moral convictions, and his burning passion for activity. 

J He loved the truth. In 1792, at the very outset of his 
career, he solemnly declared that he was devoting himself 
to truth, and throughout his life he maintained that 
truth was the sole object of his inquiries, and that he 
troubled himself very little about what was likely to 
please his hearers or be disagreeable to them. As a 
thinker, he sought first principles which were indubitably 
certain ; as a man, he loathed lies, hated compliments 
and flattery, and told everyone the truth to his face. 

I Equally he Joved liberty ; his whole life was spejiL in 

} its pursuit and in its defence. His honesty was trans 
parent, his disinterestedness patent, and his kindness 
proverbial. As early as 1775 he declared that " a theft 
is a theft and remains a theft." He treated the students 
at Jena as honourable men, and understood how to 


appeal to what was best in them. He refused to canvass 
~ for the chair at Jena, or to use the good offices of his 
- friends to clear away possible obstacles. He would not 
take fees from poor students, yet he always found room for 
them in his classes. He befriended the distressed in 
spite of the uncertainty of his own financial position, 
and imposed no condition on them save that of absolute 
secrecy. It is not surprising that his influence over the \f 
students was so powerful, and that his friendship was 
regarded as an inestimable gift. Nor is it surprising 
that, strengthened by the consciousness of the loftiest 
moral convictions, such a man in early life should have 
taken as his motto the words which Horace used in praise 
of Caesar Augustus : 

Si fractus illabatur orbis, 
Impavidum ferient ruinae. 1 

He was convinced that this world was a land not of 
enjoyment, but of labour and toil, and that every joy 
in life should be only a refreshment and an incentive to 
greater effort. He felt that he must, therefore, not only 
think but act, and he confessed to one all-engrossing 
passion, the desire to influence and ennoble his fellow- 
men, declaring that the more he acted the happier he 
seemed to be. His spirit thirsted for opportunity to 
do great things in the world, to enable him to purchase 
by deeds his place in the human race. 

Unfortunately Fichte showed most of the character 
istic defects of these good qualities. He inherited from 
his mother a violent and impetuous nature which coa- 
/ verted his principles into passions and, coupled, with his 
j absorbing desire for activity, caused him to berasJi^anOw 
I tactless. His passion for the truth made him suspicious 

1 Odes, iii, 3, 7-8. 


of the sincerity of others, impatient with those who did 
not understand his teaching, and intolerant towards 
those who did not admit its truth. Owing to the 
fierceness with which he maintained his convictions he 
always seemed despotic, uncompromising, and obstinate ; 
he himself admitted that one of the many qualities he 
lacked was that of accommodating himself to those 
around him and to people who were opposed to him in 
character. The rigour of his principles was tempered 
by few humane considerations and led men to regard 
him as harsh and difficult. It was undoubtedly these 
characteristics which set him at variance so often with j 
the authorities of the Church and of the State, and with ! 
his colleagues at Jena and Berlin, and which allowed 
it to be said of him, when he was Rector at the latter 
place, that he had no measure in anything, and treated 
the students for the smallest fault as though they were 
imps of hell. The independence of his spirit caused him 
to appear cold and proud ; and the cavalier manner in 
which he dealt with illustrious predecessors and contem 
poraries, besides inducing Goethe and Schillerjto nickname 
him the " Absolute Ego " and the " Great Ego," earned 
for him the reputation of being conceited, and sometimes 
shocked the feelings of the most friendly-disposed 
persons. Thus it was no rare thing to hear him say : 
" Here Kant, here Reinhold is wrong, and in this I have 
surpassed them " ; or, " No one has understood Kant ; 
there is only one way to understand him, that which I 
have explained." 

He had little finesse, tact, or prudence, and could, 
therefore, seldom brook contradiction or interference. 
When attacks were made upon him he was very rash 
and retaliated in the most provoking way, sometimes even 
letting himself go into violent fits of passion. This 


inevitably aroused opposition and resentment against 
him, and led him to commit many blunders, which even 
his best friends could not deny, and which caused Schiller 
to allude to him as " the richest source of absurdities." 
Thus, when the cry of atheism was raised against him at 
Jena, the violent threatening letter which he wrote to 
the minister, Voigt, irritated the Weimar government 
intensely, alienated the sympathies of many influential 
men, and effectively put an end to all possibility of 
retaining him at the University. 

The fourteen Addresses to the German Nation were 
delivered by Fichte during the winter of 1807-1808 in 
the great hall of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin before 
crowded audiences, and were published in April 1808. 
Before attempting to estimate their significance and 
importance, it is necessary to consider the circumstances 
under which they were delivered. In 1 8 o6_ Napoleon 
began his ram p^jglLJff a i n st. Pmssi a wh i ch^ aim ost alone 
among the German States, still maintained its independ 
ence. War was ^degkregLon October Q, and on the I4th 
the Prussians were severely defeated at Jena and Auer- 
stadt. So overwhelming were these defeats that further 
opposition was impossible ; on October 25 Napoleon 
entered Berlin and, one after another, the Prussian 
fortresses fell into his hands. Fichte left Berlin hurriedly 
on October 18 and fled to East Prussia, remaining at 
Konigsberg during the winter. The Russians, who had 
come to the aid of the overwhelmed Prussians, fought a 
drawn battle with the French at Eylau on February 8, 
1807, but were beaten at Friedland on June 14, and 
made peace with France at Tilsit on July 8, 1807. 
The net results of the treaty for Prussia were that she 
was deprived of much of her territory and was forced 
to maintain French garrisons in her fortresses, pay 


large sums of money to France, and reduce her army 
to 42,000 men. 

Fichte returned to Berlin at the end of August, 1807, 
to find Prussia completely humiliated and the French 
troops still in occupation of the city. Like many other 
heroic souls, however, he could not believe that all was-"" 
over with Germany ; and just as Stein set himself to 
reform the land laws, and Scharnhorst the military 
organization, so Fichte took upon himself the task of 
arousing the German people to new life" by his Addresses^ 
W0 the German Nation. .Such a course demanded coiv- 
.jsiderable courage and determination, for the Addresses 
jfmaintained the ideals of liberty and justice against the 
despotism of Napoleon in the very face of the French 
army of occupation. Yet the attitude of the French 
authorities to the Addresses was one of complete indifrer- 
ence ; probably, as Fichte said, they considered education ( 
too insignificant and harmless a matter for them to worry 
about. _Even among Fichte s fellow-countrymen there 
were no doubt many who, like the French authorities, 
were completely indifferent ; others perhaps did not 
really understand a good deal of what the Addresses 
contained, and it was probably the lecturer s presence, 
delivery, and force of character, as much as what he said, 
which influenced public opinion at the time so profoundly 
as to draw from Stein the comment that the Addresses 
" had a great effect upon the feelings of the cultivated 
class." Whatever the real cause, however, it is certain 
that the Addresses were a powerful factor in the creation 
of that national spirit which appeared for the first time 
ia.lhe War of Liberation of 1813-^15. 

Some of the ideas and opinions expressed in the Ad- 

. , dresses are obviously false and cannot be accepted, while 

others are gross exaggerations and require considerable 


modification. Little comment need be made on Fichte s 
conception of the German language as the sole living 
language, or on his notion of the part that Germany 
has played and must still play in the process of the sal 
vation of the world. His whole-hearted enthusiasm for 
things German inclines him at times to regard everything 
genuinely German as necessarily good, and everything 
. foreign as necessarily bad. It is obvious what evil results 
} would accrue from the logical development of such a 
conception. He greatly exaggerates the part played by 
Luther and by Germany in the reformation of the 
Church ; and it may be that his forecast of some of the 
good results that would follow upon the adoption of his 
educational reforms is fantastic and overdrawn. The 
fact, however, remains that these false and exaggerated 
ideas are but small blemishes in the work ; they 
are easily explained, if not justified, when we consider 
the desperate state of the times, the exalted aim of the 
lecturer, the peculiar difficulty of his task, and his enthu 
siastic personality. In any case they do not affect to any 
considerable extent the tremendous influence of the 
Addresses at the time, and their great importance for 
the understanding of subsequent periods, 

It is impossible within the limits of this introduction 
to do anything like justice to the historical and political 
importance of the Addresses both for Germany and for 
the world. It would be a most interesting and profitable 
study to trace, for instance, the development and practical 
consequences of Fichte s idea of the closed commercial 
State, or to consider the influence of the principle of 
nationality, which he so emphatically champions, upon 
the course of political development in Germany and in 
/ the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century. Tjp 
.these and other directions it would be found that the 


Addresses are of the utmost importance, and -fully 
justify Seeley s reference 1 to them as " the prophetical., 
or canonical book which announ.cei jind.. explains a great _ 
transition in modern Europe and the prophecies of which^ 
began to be fulfilled immediately after its publication." 
They_ certainly mark a definite stage in the political 
evolution of modern Germany, for in them Fichte appears 
as one of the founders of a united Germany, and from 
them date the regeneration of Prussia and the awakening 
of a national spirit in Germany./ They mark, too, an_ 
epoch in the history of the world, for they show Fichte 
as an apostle of the gospel of liberty, and proclaim that 
principle of nationality which had far-reaching effects on 
the political development of Europe in the nineteenth 
century .j 

Nor is it possible here to do justice to their tremendous 
effect on the development of education in Germany. 
Stein was certainly influenced, especially by those Ad 
dresses which deal mainly with education ; he became an 
ardent advocate of the reforms urged by Fichte, as the 
educational schemes of his ministry testify. That part 
of his political testament which concerns itself with 
education seems also to have been inspired by Fichte s 
influence. 2 More important still, however, is the fact 
that the Addresses influenced Wilhelm von Humboldt, 
whose ideas and plans for German education were carried 
into effect in 1809 and 1810, and who selected Fichte 
to be Professor of Philosophy in the new University of 
Berlin in 1 8 10. Humboldt s work laid the real foundations 
of modern German education, and it would be interesting 
to show how Fichte s ideas helped to mould that educa 
tion in its origins and subsequent development. 

It is not just because of their great significance in 
1 Life of Stein, ii, 41. 2 Ibid., p. 28 ; cf. p. 292. 


the political and educational evolution of Germany and 
of the rest of Europe, however, that the Addresses are 
important and demand attention. The ideas they con 
tain are of value to-day as they were in 1808, and are 
i applicable not to one country alone but tp every nation. 1 
1 The Addresses are essentially modern both in outlook and 
i in content. This is particularly true in regard to the 
educational principles they embody, many of which are 
only now being gradually accepted and put into practice. 
On these grounds too, therefore, the views which Fichte 
puts forward in his Addresses deserve close scrutiny and 
careful consideration. 

1 It is interesting in this connection to note the conclusion of Ebert s 
speech at the opening of the National Assembly at Weimar, reported in 
the Times, February 8, 1919 : " In this way we will set to work, our great 
aim before us : to maintain the right of the German nation, to lay the 
foundation in Germany for a strong democracy, and to bring it to achieve 
ment with the true social spirit and in the socialistic way. Thus shall we 
realize that which Fichte has given to the German nation as its task. We 
want to establish a State of justice and truthfulness, founded on the 
equality of all humanity." 


The following books may be recommended to the general 
reader who desires to know more of Fichte s life and ideas. 

i a 

THE POPULAR WORKS OF J. G. FICHTE. Translated, vvitl 

memoir, by William Smith. 2 vols. Chapman, London, 
1848-9. 2nd edition, Triibner, 1873. 

THE VOCATION OF MAN. Translated by William Smith. 2nd 
edition. Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910. 

FICHTE. By R. Adamson. Blackwood s Philosophical Classics. 
London, 1881. 

FICHTE. Article, by R. Adamson, in Ency. Brit., nth edition. 
LIFE AND TIMES OF STEIN. By J. R. Seeley. 3 vols. Cam 
bridge University Press, 1878. 

FICHTE ET SON TEMPS. By X. Leon. vol. i. Armand Colin, 
Paris, 1922. 





I. THE addresses which I now commence I have an 
nounced as a continuation of the lectures which I gave 
three winters ago in this place, and which were published 
under the title : " Characteristics of the Present Age." 
In those lectures I showed that our own age was set in 
the third^reat^epoch of time, 1 an epoch which had as the 
motive of all its vital activities and impulses mere material t 
self-seeking ; that this age could comprehend and under- 

1 [In accordance with his fundamental conception that the aim of 
human life on earth is that mankind may consciously and voluntarily 
order all its relations according to reason, Fichte distinguishes five epochs 
in the life of the human race : (i) that in which those relations are ordered 
by reason acting in the human race as blind_ instinct, i.e., without man 
having any insight into the grounds of its activity ; (2) that in which those 
relations are ordered by reason acting as an "external ruling authority 
upon the human race through its more powerful individual members, 
in whom reason appears as the desire to raise the whole race to their level 
by compelling blind faith and unconditional obedience ; (3) that in which 
mankind frees itself, directly from the rule of reason as an external ruling 
authority, indirectly from the dominion of reason as instinct, and generally 
from reason in any form, and gives itself over to absolute indifference 
towards all truth and to unrestrained licentiousness ; (4) that in which 
mankind becomes conscious of reason and understands its laws with clear 
scientific knowledge ; (5) that in which mankind, with clear conscious 
ness and by its own free act, orders all its relations in accordance with the 
laws of reason. See Lectures I. and II. on the Characteristics of the 
Present Age in Smith s translation of Fichte s Popular Works.] 



stand itself completely only by recognising that as the 
sole possible motive ; and, finally, that by this clear per 
ception of its own nature it was becoming deeply rooted 
and Immovably fixed in this its natural state of existence. 

Time is taking giant strides with us more than with 
any other age since the history of the world began. At 
some point within the threyears that have gpne_by, since 
my interpretation of the present age that epoch has 
come tojm end. At some point self-seeking has destroyed 
itself, because by its own complete development^ has 
lost its self and the independence of that self ; and since 
it would not voluntarily set itself any other aim but self, 
an external powehas forced upon it another and a foreign 
purpose. He who has once undertaken to interpret his 
own age must make his interpretation keep pace with the 
progress of that age, if progress there be. It is, there 
fore, my duty to acknowledge as past what has ceased to 
be the present, before the same audience to whom I 
characterized it as the present. 

2. Whatever has lost its independence has at the same 
time lost its power to influence the course of events and 
to determine these events by its own will. If it remain 
in this statejis age, and itself with the age, are conditioned 
in their development by that alien power which governs 
its fate. From now onwards it has no longer any time of 
its own, but counts its years by the events and epochs of 
alien nations and kingdoms. From this state, in which 
all its past world is removed from its independent in 
fluence and in its present world only the merit of obed 
ience remains to it, it could raise itself only_ori condition 
that a ne^sL world should arise for it^. the creation of which 
would begin, and its development fill, a new epoch of 
its own in history. But, since it has once fallen under 
alien power, this new world must be so constituted that 


it remains unperceived by that power, that it does not 
in any way arouse its jealousy ; nay more, that the alien 
power itself is induced by its own interest to put no 
obstacle in the way of the formation of such a world. 
Now if, for a race which has lost its former self, its former 
age and world, such a world should be created as the means 
of producing a new self ancfa~new age, a thorough inter 
pretation of such a possible age would have to give an 
account of the world thus created. 

Now for my part I maintain that there is such a world, 
and it is the aim of these addresses to show you its exist 
ence and its true owner, to bring before your eyes a living 
picture of it, and_to indicate the means of creating it. 
In this sense, therefore, these addresses will be a con 
tinuation of the lectures previously given on the then 
existing age, because they will reveal the new era which j 
can and must directly follow the_ destruction of the. \ 
kingdom of self-seeking by an alien power. __ 

3. But, before I begin this task, I must ask you to assume "~ 
the following points so that they never escape your 
memory, and to agree with me upon them wherever and 
in so far as this is necessary. 

j (a) I speak for Germans simply, of Germans simply, 
I not recognizing, but settim^aside completely and rejecting,*\ 
(all the dissociating distinctions which for centuries un=-J 
I happy events have caused in this single nation^- You, 
f gentlemen, are indeed to my outward eye the first and 
immediate representatives who bring before my mind 
the beloved national characteristics, and are the visible / 
spark at which the flame of my address is kindled. But 
my spirit gathers round it the educated part of the whole 
German nation, from all the lands in which they are ^ 
scattered. It thinks ol an~3 considers our common p 

josition^aric^ relations ; it longs that part ol the living 



force, with which these addresses may chance to grip 
you, may also remain in and breathe from the dumb 
printed page which alone will come to the eyes of the 
absent, and may in all places kindle German hearts to 
deckion_and action. Only of (jermans~aiT3r^simply for 
Germans, I said. In due course we shall show that any 
other mark of unity or any other national bond either 
never had truth and meaning or, if it had, that owing to 
our present position these bonds of union have been 
destroyed and torn from us and can never recur ; jt_js 
only by means of the common characteristic of being 
German that we can avert the downfall of our natjon 
which is threatened by its fusion with foreign peoples, 
and win back again an individuality that is self-supporting 
and quite incapable of any dependence upon others. 
With our perception of the truth of this statement its 
apparent conflict (feared now, perhaps, by many) with 
other duties and with matters that are considered sacred 
will completely vanish. 

Therefore, as I speak jmly of ^Germans_in_ general, I 
shall proclaim that many things concern us which do not 
apply in the first instance to those assembled here, just 
as I shall pronounce as the concern of all Germans other 
things which apply in the first place only to us. In the 
spirit, of which these addresses are the expression, I 
I perceive that organic unity in which no member regards 
the fate of another as the fate of a stranger. JTbehold 
that unity (which shall and must arise if we are not to 


I existing. 

"\/ (b) I assume as hearers not such Germans as are in 
their whole nature completely given over to a feeling of 
ss they have suffered, who take comfort in 

this pain, luxuriate in their disconsolate grief, and think 


thereby to compromise with the call that summons them 
to action ; but I assume such Germans as have already 
risen, or at least are capable of rising, above this justifiable 
pain to clear thought and meditation. I know that 
pain ; I have felt it as much as anyone ; I respect it. 
Apathy, which is satisfied if it find meat and drink and be 
not subjected to bodily pain, and for which honour, free 
dom, and independence are empty names, is incapable of 
it. Pain, however, exists merely to spur us on to reflec- - 
tion^ decision., a"ncT act ion. Jf it fails in this ultimate 
purpose, it robs us of reflection and of all our remaining 
powers, and so completes our misery ; while, moreover, 
as witness to our sloth and cowardice, it affords the 
visible proof that we deserve our misery. But I do not \ 
in the least intend to lift you above this pain by holding \ 
out hopes of any help which will come to you from out 
side, and by indicating all kinds of possible events and / 
changes which time may perchance bring about. For 
even if this attitude of mind, which prefers to roam in 
the shifting world of possibilities rather than to stick 
to what must be done, and would rather owe its salva 
tion to blind chance than to itself, did not already in 
itself afford evidence, as it really does, of the most criminal 
levity and of the deepest self-contempt, yet all hopes 
and indications of this kind have absolutely no applica 
tion to our position. Strict proof can, and in due course 
will, be given that no man and no god and not one of all _ 
the events that are within the bounds of possibility can 
help us, but that we alone must help ourselves if help is^"" 
to come to us. Rather shall I try to lift you above that 
pain by clear perception of our position, of our yet remain 
ing strength, and of the means of our salvation. _For 
that purpose I shall, it is true, demand of you a certain " 
amount of reflection, some spontaneous activity, and some 


sacrifice, and reckon therefore on hearers of whom so much 
may be expected. The demands I make, however, are on 
the whole easy, and presuppose no greater amount of 
strength than one may, I think, expect of our age ; as 
for danger, there is absolutely none. 

(c) Since I intend to give the Germans, as such, a clear 
view of their present position, I shall assume ^asjhearers 
such as are dispo^e_cLto__se^_thin^s_j3f this sort with their 
ownjpyes^and by no means such as find it easier in their 
consideration of these matters to have foisted upon them 
a strange and foreign eyeglass, which is either deliber 
ately intended to deceive, or never properly suits a Ger 
man eye, becausTTrtas a different angle of vision and is 
not_fine_ enough. Moreover, I presuppose that such 
hearers, when looking at these things with their own 
eyes, will have the courage to look honestly at what does 
exist and to admit candidly to themselves what they see, 
and that they either have conquered already, or at least 
are capable of conquering, tEe~~tehdency (frequently 
manifested) to deceive oneself concerning one s own 
affairs, and to present to the jnind a less displeasing 
picture o_them than is consistent with the truth. This 
tendency is a cowardly flight from one s own thoughts ; 
and it is a childish attitude of mind which seems to 
believe that, if only it does not see its misery, or at least 
does not admit that it sees it, this misery will thereby 
be removed in reality, even as it is removed in thought. 

n the other hand, it is manly courage to look evil full in 
the face, to compel it to make a stand, to scrutinize it 
calmly, coolly, and freely, and to resolve it into its com 
ponent parts. Moreover, by this clear perception alone 
is it possible to master evil and to proceed with sure step 
in the fight against it. For the man who sees the whole 
in each part always knows where he stands, and is sure 


of his ground by reason of the insight he has once gained ; 
whereas another man, lacking sure clue or definite cer 
tainty, gropes blindly in a dream. 

Why, then, should we be afraid of this clear perception ? 
Evil does not become less through ignorance, nor increase 
through knowledge ; indeed it is only by the latter that 
it can be cured. But the question of blame shall not be 
raised here. Let sloth and self-seeking be censured with 
bitter reprimand, with biting sarcasm and cutting scorn, 
and let them be provoked, if to nothing better, at least 
to bitter hatred of him who gives the reminder such 
hatred is at any rate a powerful impulse ; let this be done, 
so long as the inevitable result, the evil, is not fully accom 
plished, and so long as salvation or mitigation may still 
be expected from any improvement. But, when this 
evil is so complete that we are deprived of even the pos 
sibility of sinning again in the same way, it is useless and 
looks like malicious joy to continue to rail against a sin 
that can no longer be committed. The consideration < 
immediately drops out of the sphere of ethics into that 
of history, for which freedom is ended, and which regards 
an event as the inevitable consequence of what has gone 
before. For our addresses there remains no other view 
of the present than this last, and we shall therefore never 
adopt any other. ^v 

This attitude of mind, therefore, that we consider 
ourselves simply Germans, that we be not held captive 
even by pain itself, that we wish to see the truth and have 
the courage to look it in the face, I presuppose and reckon 
upon in every word that I shall say. If, therefore, any- 
one should bring another attitude of mind to this meeting, 
he would have to attribute solely to himself the unpleasant 
feelings which might be caused him here. Let this then 
be said once for all, and finished with. I proceed now 


to my other task, namely, to put before you in a 
general survey the contents of all the addresses that are 
to follow. 

4. At some point, I said at the beginning of my address, 
self-seeking has destroyed itself by its own complete 
development, because thereby if hasjtost its self and the 
power of fixing its aims independently. This destruction 
of self-seeking, now accomplished, constitutes both that 
progress of the age which I have mentioned and the com 
pletely new ^ event which, in my opinion, has made a 
continuation of my previous description of that age both 
possible and necessary. This destruction would, therefore, 
be our real present, to which our new life in a new world 
(the existence of which I likewise maintained) would have 
to be directly linked. It would, therefore, be also the 
proper starting-point for my addresses, and I should have 
to show above all how and why such a destruction of 
self-seeking must result inevitably from its highest develop- 
1 ment. 

* Self-seeking is most highly developed when, after it has 

first affected, with insignificant exceptions, the whole body 
of subjects, it thereupon masters the rulers and becomes 
their sole motive in life. In such a government there , 
arises first of all, outwardly, the neglect of all the ties by j 
which its own safety is bound up with the safety of other * 
States, the abandoning of the whole, of which it is a part, 
solely in order that it may not be roused from its slothful 

Asleep, and the sad illusion of self-seeking that it has peace, 
) if only its own frontiers are not attacked ; then, inwardly, 
(that feeble handling of the reins of State which calls 
itself in alien words humanity, liberality, and popularity, 
but which in German is more j^uiy_aJlecLslackness and 
unworthy conduct. 

When it masters the rulers too, I said. A people can 


be completely corrupted, i.e., self-seeking for self- 
seeking is the root of all other_corruptipn- and yet at 
the same time not only endure, but even outwardly 
accomplish splendid deeds, provided only that its govern 
ment be not also corrupt. Indeed, the latter may even 
outwardly act treacherously, disloyally, and dishonourably, 
if only it have inwardly the courage to hold on to the 
reins of government with a strong hand and to win for 
itself the greater fear. But where all the circumstances 
I have mentioned are combined, the commonwealth "- 
collapses at the first serious attack which is made upon 
it, and just as it first disloyally severed itself from the 7*Li 
body of which it was a member, so now its own members, f)L** 
who are restrained by no fear of it and are spurred on by the 
greater fear of a foreign power, cut themselves off from 
it with the same disloyalty and go each his own way. 
At this, the greater fear once more seizes those who now 
remain isolated ; and where they gave sparingly and most 
unwillingly to the defender of their country, to the enemy 
they give abundantly and with a forced look of cheer 
fulness. Later on, the rulers, abandoned and betrayed 
on all sides, are compelled to purchase their further exis 
tence by submission and obedience to foreign schemes ; 
and so those, who in battle for their country threw away 
their arms, now learn to wield those same arms bravely 
under foreign colours against their mother - country. 
Thus it comes about that self-seeking is destroyed by its\ 
own complete development ; and upon those who would 1 
not voluntarily set themselves any other aim but self, j 
another aim is imposed by alien power. / 

5. No nation which has sunk into this state of depend 
ence can raise itself out of it by the means which have 
usually been adopted hitherto. Since resistance was use 
less to it when it was still in possession of all its powers, 


what can such resistance avail now that it has been 
deprived of the greater part of them ? What might 
previously have availed, namely, if its government had 
held the reins strongly and firmly, is now no longer appli 
cable, because these reins now only appear to rest in 
its hand, for this very hand is steered and guided by an 
alien hand. Such a nation can no longer depend upon 
^ffi^.-flfl^ ^ r ^"^y ag little on the rnnqnernr., who would 
be just as thoughtless, just as cowardly and weak as that 
nation itself once was, if he did not hold fast to the advan 
tages he had won, and exploit them in every way. Or if in 
course of time he were ever to become so thoughtless and 
cowardly, he also would perish, like ourselves ; but not 
to our advantage, for he would be the prey of another 
conqueror, and we, as a matter of course, the insignificant 
addition to that prey. If^Jiowever, a nation so fallen 
<were to be able to save herself, it would have to be by 
j means of something completely new and never previously 
I employed, namely, by the creation of a totally new order 
/ of things. Let us see, therefore, what in the previously 
u existing order of things was the reason why such an 
order had inevitably to come to an end at some time or 
other, so that in the opposite of this reason for its down 
fall we may find the new element which must be intro 
duced into the age, in order that by its means the fallen 
nation may rise to a new life. 

6. On investigating this reason we find that in every 
previous system of government the interest of the indi 
vidual in the community was linked to his interest in 
himselfjby^ ties, which at some point were so completely 
severed that his interest in the community absolutely 
ceas_ed. Thesejties were those_of.fear and hope concern 
ing the interests of the individual in relation to the fate 
of the community both in the present and in some 


future life. The enlightenment of the understanding, 
with its purely material calculations, was the force which 
destroyed the connection established by religion between 
some future life and the present, and which at the same 
time conceived that such substitutes and supplements 
of the moral sense as love of fame and national honour 
were but illusory phantoms. It was the weakness of s 
governments which removed the individual s fear for his < & **- 
own interests even in this life (in so far as they depended , 
upon his behaviour towards the community) by frequently j C J^ 
allowing neglect of duty to go unpunished. Similarly, *> 
it rendered the motive of hope ineffective by satisfying 
it frequently on quite different grounds and principles, 
without heed to services rendered to the community. 
Such were the ties which at some point were complete/y 
severed ; and it was this severance that caused the breaking- 
up of the commonwealth. 

Henceforth it matters not how industriously the con- ^j- 
queror may do that which he alone can do, namely, ,j^ 
link up again and strengthen the latter part of the binding 
tie fear and hope for this present life. He alone will 
profit thereby, and not we at all ; for so surely as he per 
ceives his advantage will he link to this renewed bond first 
and foremost only his own interests. Ours he will further 
only in so far as their preservation can serve as a means 
to his own ends. For a nation so ruined, fear and hope 
are henceforth completely destroyed, because control 
over them has now slipped from her hands, and because 
she herself indeed has to fear and hope, but no one hence 
forth either fears her or hopes for aught from her. There 
remains nothing for her but to find an entirely different 
and new binding tie that is superior to fear and hope, in_ 
order to link up the welfare of her whole being: with the 

^. .. -t- o 

self-interest of each of her members. 


7. Above the material motive of fear or hope, and 
bordering immediately upon it, there is the spiritual 
motive of moral approval or disapproval, and the higher 
feeling of pleasure or displeasure at the condition of our 
selves and of others. The physical eye, when accustomed 
to cleanliness and order, is troubled and distressed, as 
though actually hurt, by a spot which indeed causes the 
body no actual injury, or by the sight of objects lying in 
chaotic confusion ; while the eye accustomed to dirt and 
disorder is quite comfortable under such circumstances. 
So, too, the inner mental eye of man can be so accustomed 
and trained that the very sight of a muddled and dis 
orderly, unworthy and dishonourable existence of its own 
or of a kindred race causes it intense pain, apart from 
anything there may be to fear or to hope from this for 
its own material welfare. This pain, apart again from 
material fear or hope, permits the possessor of such an 
eye no rest until he has removed, in so far as he can, this 
condition which displeases him, and has set in its place 
that which alone can please him. /For the possessor of 
such an eye, because of this stimulating feeling of approval 
or disapproval, the welfare of his whole environment is 
bound up inextricably with the welfare of his own wider 
/ self, which is conscious of itself only assart of the whole 
I and can ^endure. Itself only when the whole" is ^pleasing. 
To educate itself to possess"sucnan eye will, therefore,, 
be assure meafl.5, and ^Hdeed the_only_jneans left to a 
I nation which has lost her independence and with it all 
influence over public fear and hope, of rising again into 
life fromjdi^j^itiuclioji^lirhRS suffered, and of entrusting 
her national welfare, which since her downfall neither 
God nor man has heeded, with confidence to this new 
and higher feeling that has arisen. _It follows, then, .tijat 
(the means of salvation which I promised to indicate con^ 


of an entirely new self ? which niayj^ 
have existed before perhaps in individuals as an exception 7 
Fut never as a /tnriversalTa^^ and in the _ 

education of the nation, whose former life has died out 
and become jthe^supplement of an alien life, to a com 
pletely new life, which shall either remain her exclusive __ 
possession or, if it must go forth from her to others, - 
shall at least continue whole and undiminished in spite __ 
,of infinite "division. _Jn a word, it is a total change of ._ 

the existing system of education that I propose as the 
sole means" oi preserving the existence^of the German . 

.nation, y 

8. That children must be given a good education has 
been said often enough, and has been repeated too often 
even in our age ; and it would be a paltry thing if we, too, 
for our part wished to do nothing but say it once again. 
Rather will it be our duty, in so far as we think we can 

[ accomplish something new, to investigate carefully and 

\ definitely what education hitherto has really lacked, and 
to suggest what completely new element a reformed 

i system must add to the training that has hitherto existed. 
After such an investigation we must admit that the 
existing education does not fail to bring before the eyes 
of the pupils some sort of picture of a religious, moral, and 
law-abiding disposition and of order in all things and good 
habits, and also that here and there it has faithfully ex 
horted them to copy such pictures in their lives. With 
very rare exceptions, however and these were, moreover, 
not the outcome of this education (because otherwise they 
must have appeared, and that too as the rule, amongst 
all who received such instruction), but were occasioned 
by other causes with these very rare exceptions, I say, 
the pupils of this education have in general followed, 
not those moral ideas and exhortations, but the imputes 


of self-seeking which developed in them spontaneously 
and without any assistance from education. This proves 
beyond dispute that the system may, indeed, have been 
able to fill the memory with some words and phrases 
and the cold and indifferent imagination with some faint 
and feeble pictures ; but that it has never succeeded in 
making its picture of a moral world-order so vivid that the 
pupil was filled with passionate love and yearning for that 
order, and with such glowing emotion as to incite him 
j to realize it in his life emotion before which self-seeking 
[falls to the ground like withered leaves. It also proves 
this education to have been far from reaching right down 
to the roots of real impulse and action in life, and from 
! training them; for these roots, neglected by this blind 
j and impotent system, have everywhere developed wild, 
I as best they could, yielding good fruit in a few who 
I were inspired by God, but evil fruit in the majority. 
It is for the present, then, quite sufficient to describe this 
education by these its results, and for our purpose we 
can spare ourselves the wearisome task of analysing the 
inner sap and fibre of a tree whose fruit is now fully ripe 
and lies fallen before the eyes of all, proclaiming most 
clearly and distinctly the inner nature of its creator. 
Strictly speaking, according to this view, the present 
system has been by no means the art of educating men. 
/"This, indeed, it has not boasted of doing, but has very 
/ often frankly acknowledged its impotence by demanding 
I to be given natural talent or genius as the condition of 
I its success. Rather does such an art remain to be dis 
covered, and this discovery should be the real task of 
the new education. What was lacking in the old system , 
namely, an influence penetrating to the roots of vital I 
impulse and action the new education must supply. I 
f Accordingly, as the old system was able at best to train 


some part of man, so the new must train man himself, 
and must make the training given, not, as hitherto, the 
pupil s possession, but an integral part of himself. &* 

9. Moreover, education, restricted in this way, has 
been brought to bear hitherto only on the very small 
minority of classes which are for this reason called educated, 
whereas the great majority on whom in very truth the 
commonwealth rests, the people, have been almost 
entirely neglected by this system and abandoned to blind 

chance. By means of the new education we want to 

_,, * .- _ r __ , 

mould the Germans into a corporate body, which shall _ 
be stimulated and animated in all its individual members 
by the same interest. If by this means we wanted, indeed, 
to mark off an educated class, which might perhaps be 
animated by the newly developed motive of moral appro 
val, from an uneducated one, then the latter would desert 
us and be lost to us ; because the motives of hope and fear, 
by which alone influence might be exercised over it, would 
work no longer with us but against us. _Sp_ there is nothing 
left for us but just to apply the new system to every 
German without exception, so that it is not the education, 
of a single class, but the education of the nation, simply 
as such and without excepting any of its individual mem- 
bers._ In this, that is to say in the training of man, to 
take real pleasure in what is right, all distinction of classes, 
which may in the future find a place in other branches 
of development, will be completely removed and vanish. 
In__this way there will grow up among us, . not popular 
education, but real German national education. 

10. I shall prove to you that a system of education 
such as we desire has actually been discovered and is 
already being practised, so that we have nothing to do 
but to accept what is offered us. As I promised you con 
cerning the means of salvation that I should propose, 


this demands undoubtedly no greater amount of energy 
than can reasonably be expected of our generation. To 
that promise I added another, namely, that so far as 
danger is concerned there is none at all in our proposal, 
because the self-interest of the power that rules over us 
demands that the carrying-out of such a proposal should 
be assisted rather than hindered. I consider it appro 
priate to speak my mind clearly on this point at, once in 
this first address. 

It is true that in ancient as in modern times the arts 
of corrupting and of morally degrading the conquered 
have very frequently been used with success as a means 
of ruling. By lying fictions, and by skilful confusion of 
ideas and of language, princes have been libelled to the 
people, and peoples to princes, in order that the two 
parties, because of their dissension, might the more surely 
be controlled. All the impulses of vanity and of self- 
interest have been cunningly aroused and fostered, so 
as to make the conquered contemptible, and thus to crush 
them with something like a good conscience. But it 
would be a fatal error to propose this method with us 
Germans. Apart from the tie of fear and hope, the 
coherence of that part of the outside world with which we 
have now come into contact is founded on the motives of 
honour and of national glory. The clear vision of the 
German, however, has long since come to the unshakable 
i conviction that these are empty illusions, and that no 
injury or mutilation of the individual is healed by the 
glory of the whole nation, and we shall indeed, if a wider 
view of life be not brought before us, probably become 
dangerous preachers of this very natural and attractive 
doctrine. Without, therefore, taking to ourselves any 
new corruption, we are already in our natural condition 
a harmful prey ; only by carrying out the proposal 


that has been made can we become a wholesome one. 
Then the outside world, as certainly as it knows its own 
interests, will be guided by them, and prefer to have us 
in the latter state rather than in the former. 

11. Now in making this proposal my address is directed 
especially towards the educated classes in Germany, for . 
I hope that it will be intelligible to them first. My pro 
posal is first and foremost that they become the authors 
of this new creation, thereby, on the one hand, reconciling 
the world to their former influence, and, on the other, 
deserving its continuance in the future. We shall see 
in the course of these addresses that up to the present 
all human progress in the German nation has sprung from 
the people, and that to it, in the first instance, great national 
affairs have always been brought, and by it have been cared 
for and furthered. Now, for the first time, therefore, it 
happens that the fundamental reconstruction of the nation 

is offered as a task to the educated classes, and if they 
were really to accept this offer, that, too, would happen 
for the first time. We shall find that these classes cannot , 
calculate how long it will still remain in their power to 
place themselves at the head of this movement, since it is 
now almost prepared and ripe for proposal to the people, 
and is being practised on individuals from among the 
people ; and the people will soon be able to help themselves 
without any assistance from us. The result of this for us^i 
will simply be that the present educated classes and their 11 
descendants will become the people ; while from among W 
the present people another more highly educated class / 
will arise. 

12. Finally, it is the general aim of these addresses to 
bring courage and hope to the suffering, to proclaim joy 
in the midst of deep sorrow, to lead us gently and softly 
through the hour of deep affliction. This age is to me as a 


shade that stands weeping over its own corpse, from which 
it has been driven forth by a host of diseases, unable to 
tear its gaze from the form so beloved of old, and trying in 
despair every means to enter again the home of pestilence. 
Already, it is true, the quickening breezes of that other 
world, which the departed soul has entered, have taken it 
unto themselves and are surrounding it with the warm 
breath of love ; the whispering voices of its sisters greet 
it with joy and bid it welcome ; and already in its depths 
it stirs and grows in all directions towards the more 
glorious form into which it shall develop. But as yet the 
soul has no feeling for these breezes, no ear for these 
voices or if it had them, they have disappeared in sorrow 
for the loss of mortal form ; for with its form the soul 
thinks it has lost itself too. What is to be done with it ? 
The dawn of the new world is already past its breaking ; 
already it gilds the mountain tops, and shadows forth 
the coming day. I wish, so far as in me lies, to catch the 
rays of this dawn and weave them into a mirror, in which 
our grief-stricken age may see itself ; so that it may 
believe in its own existence, may perceive its real self, and, 
as in prophetic vision, may see pass by its own develop 
ment, its coming forms. In the contemplation of this, 
the picture of its former life will doubtless sink and vanish ; 
and the dead body may be borne to its resting-place 
without undue lamenting. 


3f the \ 

ristics, I 

i n CY rT * 



13. THESE addresses should lead you first of all, and with 
you the whole nation, to a clear perception of the remedy 
which I have proposed for the preservation of the German 
nation. Such a remedy follows from the nature of 
age as well as of the German national characteristics 
and must in turn influence the age and the moulding of 
those national characteristics. This remedy, therefore, 
does not become perfectly clear and intelligible until it 
is compared with the latter, and these with it, and both 
are represented in complete connection with each other. 
For these tasks time is needed ; perfect clearness, there 
fore, is to be expected only at the end of our addresses. 
But, since we must begin at some point, it will be most 
convenient first of all to consider the inner nature of 
that remedy by itself, apart from its relations in time and 
space. Our address to-day, therefore, will be devoted to 
this task. 

The remedy indicated was an absolutely new system 
of German national education, such as has never existed 
in any other nation. In the last address this new educa 
tion, as distinguished from the old, was described thus : 
the existing education has at most only exhorted to good 
order and morality, but these exhortations have been 
unfruitful in real life, which has been moulded on prin- 



ciples that are quite different and completely beyond 
the influence of that education ; in contrast to this, the 
new education must be able surely and infallibly to~ 
mould and determine according to rules the real vital 
impulses and actions of its pupils. 

14. Now perchance someone might -say, as indeed 
those who administer the present system of education 
almost without exception actually do say : " What more 
should one expect of any education than that it should 
point out what is right to the pupil and exhort him 
earnestly to it ; whether he wishes to follow such exhorta 
tions is his own affair and, if he does not, his own fault ; 
he has free will, which no education can take from him." 
Then, in order to define more clearly the new education 
which I propose, I should reply that that very recognition 
pf, and reliance upon, free will in the pupil is the first 
listake of the old system and the clear confession of its 
itnpotence and futility. For, by confessing that after 
all its most powerful efforts the will still remains free, 
that is, hesitating undecided between good and evil, it 
confesses that it neither is able, nor wishes, nor longs to 
fashion the will and (since the latter is the very root of 
man) man himself, and that it considers this altogether 
impossible. On the other hand, the new education must 
; f consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys 
/ freedom of will in the soil which it undertakes to cultivate, 
\\ and produces on the contrary strict necessity in the 
I \ decisions of the will, the opposite being impossible. 
\ Such a will can henceforth be relied on with confidence 
and certainty. 

All education aims at producing a stable, settled, and 
steadfast character, which no longer is developing, but 
is, and cannot be other than it is. If it did not aim at 
such a character it would be, not education, but some 


aimless game ; if it did not produce such a character it 
would still be incomplete. He who must still exhort 
himself, and be exhorted, to will the good, has as yet no 
firm and ever-ready will, but wills a will anew every 
time he needs it. But he who has such a stable will, 
wills what he wills for ever, and cannot under any cir- 
cumstances will otherwise than he always wills. For him 
freedom of the will is destroyed and swallowed up in 
necessity. The past age had neither a true conception 
of education for manhood nor the power to realize that 
conception. It showed this by wanting to improve man 
kind by warning sermons, and by being angry and scolding 
when these sermons were of no avail. Yet how could 
they avail aught ? Before the warning, and independent 
of it, the will of man has already its definite bent. If 
this agrees with your exhortation, the latter comes too 
late ; without it he would have done what you exhort 
him to. If this bent and your exhortation are in opposi 
tion, you may at most bewilder him for a few moments ; 
when the time comes, he forgets himself and your exhorta 
tion, and follows his natural inclination. If you want 
to influence him at all, you must do more than merely 
talk to him ; you must fashion him, and fashion him in 
such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than you 
wish him to will. It is idle to say : Fly for he has no 
wings, and for all your exhortations will never rise two 
steps above the ground. But jievelop ? if you can., fcis. 

spiritual wings ; let him exercise them and make them 
strong, and without any exhortation from you he will 
want, and will be able, to do nothing but fly. 

15. The^new education must produce^this stable and 
unh^sitat ing -wil 

Itjnusljtself inevitably crea_.the necessity t which it 
aims. Those who in the past became good did so thanks 


to their natural disposition, which outweighed the in 
fluence of their bad environment, and not because of 
their education in any way, for otherwise all the pupils 
would have become good. Those who went to the bad 
did so just as little because of education, for otherwise 
all the pupils would have been corrupted ; they went 
to the bad of themselves, thanks to their natural disposi 
tion. In this respect education was simply futile, and 
not pernicious at all ; the real formative agency was 
spiritual nature. Henceforth education for manhood 
must be taken from the influence of this mysterious and 
incalculable force and put under the direction of a deliber 
ate art, which will surely and infallibly accomplish its 
purpose with everyone entrusted to it ; or which, if 
somehow it does not accomplish it, will at least know that 
it has not done so, and that therefore the training is still 
incomplete. The education proposed by me, therefore, 
I is to be a reliable and deliberate art for fashioning in 
iman a stable and infallible good will. That is its first 

1 6. Moreover, man can will only what he loves ; his 

I love is the sole and at the same time the infallible motive 

\ of his will and of all his vital impulses and actions. 

^Hitherto, in its education of the social man the art of 

the State assumed, as a sure and infallible principle, that 

everyone loves and wills h 1 1 nwn rn algrial welfare . To 

this natural love it ardfkjall^Jinked, by means of the 

motives of fear and hope, that good will which it desired, 

namely, interest in the-eom^Kii^weaL Anyone who has 

become outwardly a harmless or even useful citizen as a 

result of such a system of education remains, nevertheless, 

inwardly a bad man ; for badness consists essentially in 

loving solely one s own material welfare and in being 

influenced only by the motives of fear or hope for that 


welfare, whether in the present or in some future life. 
Apart from this fact, we have already seen that this 
method is no longer applicable to us, because the motives 
of fear and hope serve no longer with us but against us, 
and material love of self cannot be turned to our advantage 
in any .way. We are, therefore, compelled by necessity 
to wish to mould men who are inwardly and fundamen 
tally good, since it is through such men alone that the 
German nation can still continue to exist, whereas through 
bad men it will inevitably be absorbed in the outside 
world. Therefore, in place of that love of self, with 
which nothing for our good can be connected any longer, 
we must set up and establish in the hearts of all those 
whom we wish to reckon among our nation that other 
kind of love, which is concerned directly with the good, 
tor itsowjq.sake. 

We have already seen that love of the good, simply 
as such and not for the sake of any advantage to our 
selves, takes the form of pleasure in it ; a pleasure so 
intense that a man is thereby stimulated to realize the 
good in his life. It is this intense pleasure, therefore,?) 
which the new education should produce as its pupil s|| 
stable and constant character. Then this pleasure 
itself would inevitably be the foundation of the pupil s 
constant good will. 

17. A pleasure that stimulates us to bring about a 
certain state of affairs which does not yet actually exist pre 
supposes an iniage of that state which, previous to its actual 
existence, hovers before the mind and attracts that pleasure 
which stimulates to realization. This pleasure, therefore, 
presupposes in the individual who is to be affected by 
it the power to create spontaneously such images, which 
are independent of reality and not copies of it, but rather 
its prototypes. I must now speak of this power, and I 


beg you during the consideration of it not to forget 
that an image created by this power can please simply 
as an image, and as one in which we feel our creative 
energy, without being for that reason taken as a proto 
type of reality and without pleasing to such a degree that 
it stimulates to realization. The latter is quite a different 
and our own special goal, of which we shall not fail to 
speak later ; but the former is simply the preliminary 
condition for the attainment of the true ultimate aim of 

1 8. That power to create spontaneously images, which 
are not simply copies of reality, but can become its pro 
totypes, should be the starting-point for the moulding 
of the race by means of the new education. To create 
images spontaneously, I said, and in such a way that the 
pupil will produce them by his own power ; but not in 
deed that he will merely be capable of receiving passively 
the image presented to him by education, of understanding 
it sufficiently, and of reproducing it just as it is presented 
to him, as if it were a question simply of the existence 
of such an image. The reason for demanding self- 
activity in regard to that image is this ; only on that 
condition can the image created engage the active 
pleasure of the pupil. For it is one thing merely to allow 
oneself to be pleased at something and to have nothing 
against it ; such passive pleasure can arise at best only 
from passive submission. But it is quite another thing 
to be so affected by pleasure at something that this 
pleasure becomes productive and stirs up all our energy 
to the act of creation. We speak not of the former, 
which happened no doubt even in the old education, but 
of the latter. Now, this pleasure will be kindled only 
by the pupil s self-activity being stimulated at the same 
time and becoming manifest to him in the given object, 


so that this object pleases not only in itself, but also as 
an object of the manifestation of mental power. This 
pleases directly, inevitably, and invariably. 

19. This creative mental activity which is to be \ 
developed in the pupil is undoubtedly an activity accord- j 
ing to rules, which become known to the active pupil 1 
until he sees from his own direct experience that they / 
alone are possible that is, this activity produces know- I / 
ledge, and that, too, of general and infallible laws. More- * 
over, in the free development that begins at this point 
it is impossible to undertake anything contrary to the 
law, and no act results until the law is obeyed. Even if, 
therefore, this free development should begin at first 
with blind efforts, it must still end in more extensive 
knowledge of the law. This training, therefore, in its 
final result, is the training of the pupil s faculty of know 
ledge, and, of course, not historical training in the actual 
condition of things, but the higher and philosophical 
training in the laws which make that actual condition of 
things inevitable. The pupil learns. 

I add : the pupil learns willingly and with pleasure, 
and there is nothing he would rather do than learn, so 
long as the effort lasts ; for while he is learning his activity 
is spontaneous, and in this he has directly the greatest 
possible pleasure. Here we have found an outward\ 
sign of true education, at once obvious and infallible; A 
namely, that every pupil on whom this education is \ 
brought to bear, without exception and irrespective of 
differences in natural talent, learns with pleasure and love, / 
purely for the sake of learning and for no other reason. 
We have discovered the means of kindling this pure love 
of learning ; it is to- stimulate directly the spontaneous 
activity of the pupil and to make this the basis of all 
knowledge, so that whatever is learnt is learnt through it.. 


The first important point in the art of education is 
just to stimulate this personal activity of the pupil in 
something known to us. If we succeed in this, it is 
simply a question of starting from that and of maintaining 
the stimulated activity in ever new life. This is possible 
only where progress is regular, and where every mistake 
in education is discovered immediately through the 
failure of what was intended. We have, therefore, found 
/ also the link whereby the intended result is inseparably 

/ connected with the method planned, namely, the eternal, 
universal, and fundamental law of man s mental nature, 

I that he must directly engage in mental activity. 

20. Should anyone, misled by our usual daily experi 
ence, doubt the very existence of such a fundamental 
law, we would remind him over and over again that man 
is indeed by nature merely material and self-seeking, 
so long as immediate necessity and present material need 
spur him on, and that he does not let any spiritual need 
or feeling of consideration prevent him from satisfying 
/ that material need. But when it is satisfied, he has 
little inclination to let his fancy dwell on the painful 
image of it, or to keep it in his mind. He is much more 
inclined to free his thoughts and turn them without 
restraint to the consideration of whatever attracts the 
attention of his senses. Nor, indeed, does he scorn a 
poetic flight to ideal worlds, for he has by nature but little 
interest in the temporal, in order that his taste for the 
eternal may have scope for development. This is proved 
by the history of all ancient peoples, and by the various 
observations and discoveries which have come down to us 
from them. It is proved in our day by the observation 
of races that are still savage, provided, of course, their 
climate does not treat them far too unkindly, and by the 
observation of our own children. It is proved even by 


the candid confession of the opponents of ideals, who com 
plain that it is a far more disagreeable business to learn 
names and dates than to rise into this empty (as it appears 
to them) world of ideas ; but who would themselves, it 
seems, if they might indulge, rather do the latter than the 
former. In place of this natural freedom from care 
there appears anxiety, in which tomorrow s hunger and 
all possible future states of hunger in their yhole long 
series hang over even him who is satiated, as the one 
thing that occupies his mind and evermore goads and 
drives him on. In our age this is caused artificially, in 
the Boy by the repression of his natural freedom from care, 
in the man by the endeavour to be considered prudent, 
a reputation which falls to the lot only of him who does 
not lose sight of that point of view for a moment. This, 
then, is not the natural disposition with which we should 
have to reckon, but a corruption imposed by force on 
reluctant nature, which vanishes when that force is no 
longer applied. 

2 1 . This education, which stimulates directly the mental 
activity of the pupil, produces knowledge, we said above. 
This gives us the opportunity of distinguishing still more 
clearly the new education from the old. //The new educa- 1 - 
tion, in fact, aims especially and directly only at stimulat- \ 
ing regular and progressive mental activity.)/ Knowledge, 
as we saw above, results only incidentally and as an 
inevitable consequence. Now, if it is only in such 
knowledge that our pupil can conceive the image of real 
life which shall stimulate him to serious activity when he 
becomes a man, knowledge is certainly an important 
part of the training which is to be obtained. Yet it 
cannot be said that the new education aims directly 
at such knowledge ; knowledge is only incidental to it. 
On the other hand, the old education aimed definitely 


at knowledge, and at a certain amount of some subject of 
knowledge. Besides, there is a great difference between 
that kind of knowledge which results incidentally from 
the new education and that at which the old education 
aimed. vjThe former results in knowledge of the laws which 
condition all possible mental activity. For instance, if 
the pupil tries in free fancy to enclose a space with 
straight lines, this is the first stimulation of his mental 
activity. If in these attempts he discovers that he cannot 
enclose a space with fewer than three straight lines, this 
is the incidental knowledge resulting from another quite 
different activity, that of the faculty of knowledge, 
which restricts the free power first stimulated. This 
education, therefore, results at the very outset in know 
ledge which transcends all experience, which is abstract, 
absolute, and strictly universal, and which includes within 
itself beforehand all subsequently possible experience. 
On the other hand, the old education was concerned, as a 
rule, only with the actual qualities of things as they are 
and as they should be believed and noted, without anyone 
being able to assign a reason for them. It aimed, therefore, 
at purely passive reception by means of the power of 
memory, which was completely at the service of things. 
It was, therefore, impossible to have any idea of the rnind 
as an independent original principle jthingsjthemselves. 
Modern education must not think it can defend itself 
against this reproach by appealing to its oft-declared 
contempt for mechanical rote-learning and to its well- 
known masterpieces in the Socratic manner. On this 
point it was fully informed long ago from another source 
that these Socratic reasonings are also learned by heart 
purely mechanically, and that this is a much more dan 
gerous form of rote-learning, because it makes the pupil 
who does not think appear capable of thinking. It was 


informed, too, that no other result was possible with the 
material it employed to develop spontaneous thought, 
and that for this purpose one must commence with 
entirely different material. This quality of the old 
education shows clearly why the pupil generally learned 
unwillingly, and therefore slowly and but little, and why, 
because learning itself was not attractive, extraneous 
motives had to be introduced ; it also shows the reason 
for the exceptions to the rule hitherto. Memory, 
employed alone and without serving any other purpose 
in the mind, is a passive condition rather than an activity 
of the mind, and it is easy to understand that the pupil 
will be very unwilling to accept this passive state. Besides, 
acquaintance with things and with the properties of_ 
things which are quite strange, and which have not the 
slightest interest for him, is a poor recompense for the 
passivity inflicted on him. His aversion, therefore, had 
to be overcome by holding out hopes of the usefulness of 
such knowledge in the future, by asserting that by it 
alone could a living and a reputation be obtained, and 
even by direct immediate punishment and reward. Thus 
from the very outset, knowledge was set up as a servant 
of material welfare ; and this education, which was 
described above, from the point of view of its content, as 
simply incapable of developing a moral sense, was in fact 
obliged, in order to reach the pupil at all, to implant and 
develop moral corruption in him and to unite its own 
interest with that of this corruption. Further, it will 
be found that the natural talent, which, as an exception 
to the rule, learned willingly and therefore well in schools 
under the old education, overcame the moral corruption 
of the environment and kept its character pure, thanks 
to this greater love that governed it. Owing to its 
natural inclination it acquired a practical interest in 


these subjects, and, guided by its happy instinct, it aimed 
at producing, far more than at merely receiving, such 
knowledge. Then, in regard to the subjects taught, 
this education usually succeeded best, in exception to the 
rule, with those which it allowed to be practised actively. 
For instance, the classical language 1 in which writing and 
speaking were the aim was nearly always fairly well learned ; 
whereas the other language, 2 in which practice in writing 
and speaking was neglected, was usually learned very 
badly and superficially, and was forgotten in later years. 
It follows, therefore, from previous experience, that it is 
the development of mental activity by means of instruc 
tion which alone produces pleasure in knowledge simply 
as such, and so keeps the mind open for moral training ; 
on the other hand, purely passive receptivity paralyses 
and kills knowledge, just as it inevitably corrupts the moral 
sense completely. 

22. To return again to the pupil under the new 
education. It is evident that, spurred on by his love, 
he will learn much and, since he understands everything 
in its relations and immediately puts into action what he 
has understood, he will learn it correctly and will never 
forget it. Yet that is but incidental. More important 
is the fact that this love exalts his personality and intro 
duces him systematically and deliberately into a wholly 
new order of things, into which hitherto only a few, 
favoured by God, came by accident. The love which 
spurs him on aims not at sensuous enjoyment, which quite 
ceases to be a motive for him, but at mental activity and 
the law of that activity for their own sakes. Now, it is 
not this mental activity in general with which morality 
is concerned ; for this purpose a special direction must 
be given to that activity. Yet this love is the specific 
1 [Latin]. 2 [Greek]. 


quality and form of tbe moral will. This method of 
mental training is, therefore, the immediate preparation 
for the moral ; it completely destroys the root of immor 
ality by never allowing sensuous enjoyment to become 
the motive. Formerly, that was the first motive to be 
stimulated and developed, because it was believed that 
otherwise the pupil could not be influenced or controlled 
at all. If the moral motive had to be developed after 
wards, it came too late and found the heart already 
occupied by, and filled with, another love. On the other\ 
hand, in the new education the training of a pure will 
is to be the first aim, so that if, later, selfishness should 
awake within, or be stimulated from without, it may come 
too late, and find no room for itself in a heart which is 
already occupied by something else. / 

23. It is essential both for this first aim and also fort 
the second, which will be mentioned soon, that from the^\ 
very beginning the pupil should be continuously and ^ 
completely under the influence of this education, and J 
.shoulcLbe separated altogether from the community, and J 
kept from all contact with it. He must not even hear * 
that our vital impulses and actions can be directed towards 
our maintenance and welfare, nor that we may learn for 
that reason, nor that learning may be of some use for that 
purpose. It follows that mental development should be 
produced in him only in the manner described above, that 

he should be occupied with it unceasingly, and that this 
method of instruction should on no account be exchanged 
for that which requires the opposite material motive. 

24. But, although this mental development does not 
let self-seeking come to life and provides indeed the form 
oLa moj^Ljvill, it is not yet, however; the moral will 
itself. If the new education which we propose did not 
go further, it would at best train excellent men of learn- 


ing, as in the past, of whom only a few are needed, and 

who would be able to do no more for our true human 

and national aim than such men have done hitherto 

exhort, and exhort again, get themselves wondered at, 

and occasionally abused. But it is clear, as I have already 

said, that this free activity of the mind is developed with 

[ the intention that by it the pupil may voluntarily create 

j the image of a moral order of life that actually exists, 

j may lay hold of this image with the love that is also 

I already developed in him, and be spurred on by this love 

I to realize it actually in and by his life. The question is, 

how can the new education prove to itself that it has 

achieved this, its true and final purpose with the pupil. 

25. Above all it is clear that the mental activity of 
the pupil, which has been exercised already on other 
objects, should be stimulated to create an image of the 
I social order of mankind as it ought to be, simply in accord- 
/ ance with the law of reason. Whether the image created 
by the pupil be true can be judged most easily by an 
education which alone is in possession of this true image. 
Whether it is created by the pupil s spontaneous activity, 
and not simply passively accepted and credulously repeated 
in school fashion, and, further, whether it is raised to the 
proper clearness and vividness, education will be able 
to judge, just as it has hitherto correctly judged other 
things in this respect. Yet all this is a matter for mere 
knowledge, and remains within the domain of knowledge, 
which is very accessible in this system of education. 
It is a very different and a higher question, whether the 
pupil is so filled with ardent love for such an order of 
things, that it will be utterly impossible for him not to 
desire it and to work with all his strength to promote it, 
when freed from the guidance of education and left inde 
pendent. This question, undoubtedly, not words and 


tests which are arranged in words, but only the appear 
ance of deeds, can decide. 

26. This is my solution of the problem raised by this last 
consideration. Under the new system of education the 
pupils, although separated from the adult community, 
will, nevertheless, undoubtedly live together among them 
selves, and so form a separate and self-contained com 
munity with its organization precisely defined, based on 
the nature of things and demanded throughout by reason. 
The very first image of a social order which the pupil s 
mind should be stimulated to create will be that of the 
community in which he himself lives. He will be inwardly 
compelled, therefore, to fashion this order for himself 
bit for bit, just as it is actually sketched out for him, and 
to conceive it in all its parts as absolutely inevitable 
because of its elements. This, again, is merely the work 
of knowledge. Now, in real life under this social arrange- , 
ment every individual has continually to abstain, for the 
sake of the community, from much that he could do 
without hesitation if he were alone. It will be fitting, 
therefore, that the legislation, and the instruction con 
cerning the constitution which is to be based thereon, 
should represent to each individual all the others asj 
animated by a love of order exalted to the ideal, which! 
perhaps no one person really has, but which all ought/ \ 
to have. It will be fitting, too, that the legislation should 1 / 
consequently maintain a high standard of severity, 
and should prohibit the doing of many things. Such 
, which simply must exist and on which the 

existence of the cornmunity depends, are to be enforced 
in case of necessity by fear of immediate punishment, 
and this penal law must be administered absolutely 
without indulgence or exception. This application of 
does not impair in any way the morality 



of the pupil, for in this case he is incited, not to do good, 
but only to abstain from what under this system of govern 
ment is evil. Moreover, the instruction concerning the 
constitution must make it quite clear that anyone who 
still needs the idea of punishment, or even indeed to 
revive that idea by suffering punishment, is at a very low 
stage of civilization. Yet, in spite of all this, it is clear 
that in these circumstances the pupil will be unable to 
show his good will outwardly, and education will be 
unable to estimate it, since no one can ever know whether 
obedience results from love of order or from fear of 

On the other hand, in the following circumstances 
such an estimate is possible. The system of government 
must be arranged in such a way that the individual must 
not only abstain, but will also work and act, for the sake 
of the community. Physical exercises, the mechanical, 
but here idealized, work of farming, and trades of various 
kinds, in addition to the development of the mind by 
learning, are included in this commonwealth of pupils. 
A fundamental principle of the system of government will 
be that anyone who may excel in one of these depart 
ments will be expected to help to instruct the others in 
it, and to undertake superintendence and responsibilities 
of various kinds. Anyone who discovers an improvement, 
or understands most clearly, and before the others, an im 
provement proposed by a teacher, is expected to work it 
out by his own efforts, without being set free for this 
purpose from his other personal tasks of learning and work 
ing which are understood. Everyone is supposed to fulfil 
this expectation voluntarily, not compulsorily ; for anyone 
who is unwilling is free to refuse. He is to expect neither 
reward for it, for under this system of government all are 
quite equal in regard to work and pleasure, nor even praise, 


tity is that 
ne enjoys / 
mmunity, J 

for the attitude of mind prevailing in the community 
it is just everyone s duty to act thus ; but he alone 
the pleasure of acting and working for the community, 
and of succeeding, if that should fall to his lot. Under 
this system of government, therefore, the acquirement 
of greater skill and the effort spent therein will result 
only in fresh effort and work, and it will be the very pupil 
who is abler than the rest who must often watch while 
others sleep, and reflect while others play. 

27. To some pupils all this will be quite clear and 
intelligible. Yet they will continue to undertake that 
initial toil and the further labours that result from it 
so joyfully that they may be relied on with certainty. 
They will remain strong, and become even stronger, in 
their feeling of power and activity. Such pupils education 
can confidently send out into the world ; it has achieved 
its purpose with them. Their love has been kindled and 
burns down to the root of their vital impulse ; from now 
onwards it will lay hold of everything, without excep 
tion, that comes in contact with this vital impulse. In 
the larger community, which they now enter, they can 
never be anything but the steady and constant beings 
they have been in the little community they are now j 

The pupil has in this way been fully prepared for the 
demands which the world will immediately and certainly 
make of him. What education, in the name of this 
world, demands of him has been done. But he is still 
not perfect in and for himself, and what he himself can 
claim from education has not yet been done. When this 
demand, too, has been met, he will be able to satisfy also 
the demands which, in special circumstances, a higher 
world, in the name of the present world, may make of him. 



28. THE essential feature of the proposed new education, 
so far as it was described in the last address, consisted 
in this, that it is the sure and deliberate art of training 
the pupil to pure morality. To pure morality, I said ; 
the morality to which it educates exists as an original, 
independent, and separate thing, which develops spon 
taneously its own life, but is not, like the legality hitherto 
often aimed at, linked with and implanted in some other 
non-moral impulse, for the satisfaction of which it serves. 
It is the sure and deliberate art of this moral education, 
I said. It does not proceed aimlessly and at random, 
but according to a fixed rule well known to it, and is 
certain of its success. Its pupil goes forth at the proper 
time as a fixed and unchangeable machine produced by 
this art, which indeed could not go otherwise than as 
it has been regulated by the art, and needs no help at all, 
but continues of itself according to its own law. 

This education certainly does train also the pupil s 
mind, and this mental training is indeed the first thing 
with which it commences its task. Yet this mental 
development is not the chief and original aim, but only 
the condition and means of applying moral training to 
the pupil. This mental training, however, though 
acquired but incidentally, remains an ineradicable pos- 



session of the pupil s life and the ever-burning lamp of 
his moral love. However great or small the total know 
ledge which he may have obtained from education, he 
will certainly have brought away from it a mind which, 
during the whole of his life, will be able to grasp every 
truth, the knowledge of which is essential to him, and 
which will remain continually susceptible to instruction 
from others, as well as capable of reflecting for itself. 

This was the point we reached in the last address in 
the description of the new education. At the end of it 
we remarked that thereby it was not yet completed, but 
that it had still to solve another problem different from 
those already set. We proceed now to the task of defining 
this problem more clearly. 

29. The pupil of this education is not merely a member 
of human society here on this earth and for the short 
span of life which is permitted him on it. He is also, and 
is undoubtedly acknowledged by education to be, a link 
in the eternal chain of spiritual life in a higher social 
order. A training which has undertaken to include the 
whole of his being should undoubtedly lead him to a 
knowledge of this higher order also. Just as it led him to 
sketch out for himself by his own activity an image of 
that moral world-order which never is, but always is to 
be, so must it lead him to create in thought by the same 
self-activity an image of that supersensuous world-order 
in which nothing becomes, and which never has become, 
but which simply is for ever ; all this in such a way that 
he intimately understands and perceives that it could 
not be otherwise. Under proper guidance he will 
complete his attempts at such an image, and find at the 
end that nothing really exists but life, the spiritual 
life which lives in thought, and that everything else 
does not really exist, but only appears to exist. The 


reason for this appearance, a reason that results from 
thought, he will likewise grasp, even if only in general. 
Further, he will perceive that, amid the various forms 
which it received, not by chance, but according to a law 
founded in God Himself, the spiritual life which alone 
really exists is one, the divine life itself, which exists and 
manifests itself only in living thought. He will thus 

f learn to know and keep holy his own and every other 
spiritual life as an eternal link in the chain of the mani- 

V festation of the divine life. Only in immediate contact 
with God and in the direct emanation of his life from 
Him will he find life, light, and happiness, but in any 
separation from that immediate contact, death, darkness, 
and misery. In a word, this development will train him 
I to religion ; and this religion of the indwelling of our 
life in God shall indeed prevail and be carefully fostered 
in the new era. On the other hand, the religion of the 
past separated the spiritual life from the divine, and only 
by apostasy against the divine life could it procure for the 
spiritual life the absolute existence which it had ascribed 
to it. It used God as a means to introduce self-seeking 
into other worlds after the death of the mortal body, 
and through fear and hope of these other worlds to rein 
force for the present world the self-seeking which would 
otherwise have remained weak. Such a religion, which 
was obviously a servant of selfishness, shall indeed be borne 
to the grave along with the past age. In the new era 
eternity does not dawn first on yon side of the grave, 
but comes into the midst of the present life ; while self- 
seeking is dismissed from serving and from ruling, and 
(departs, taking its servants with it. 
Education to true religion is, therefore, the final task 
of the new education. 
Whether in the creation of the necessary image of the 


supersensuous world-order the pupil has really acted 
spontaneously, and whether the image created is abso 
lutely correct and thoroughly clear and intelligible, educa 
tion can easily judge in the same way as in the case of 
other objects of knowledge, for that, too, is in the domain 
of knowledge. 

30. But here, too, the more important question is : 
How can education estimate and guarantee that this 
knowledge of religion will not remain dead and cold, 
but will be expressed in the actual life of the pupil ? 
The premise of this question is the answer to another : 
How, and in what manner, is religion shown in life ? 

In everyday life, and in a well-ordered community, 
there is no need whatever of religion to regulate HfeJ 
True morality suffices wholly for that purpose. In this 
respect, therefore, religion is not practical, and cannot 
and shall not become practical. Religion is simply^ 
knowledge ; it makes man quite clear and intelligible 
to himself, answers the highest question which he can 
raise, solves for him the last contradiction, and so brings 
into his understanding complete unity with itself and 
perfect clearness. It is his complete salvation and deliver 
ance from every foreign bond. Education, therefore, owes 
him this religion as his due absolutely, and without ulterior 
purpose. Religion, as a motive, has its only sphere of 
action in a very immoral and corrupt society, or where 
man s field of activity lies not within the social order but 
beyond it, and rather has continually to create it anew 
and to maintain it ; as in the case of the ruler, who often 
could not, without religion, perform the duties of his 
office with a good conscience. Such a case is not the 
concern of an education intended for everyone and for 
the whole nation. When, as in the former case, work is 
continued unceasingly, although man s understanding 


has a clear perception of the incorrigibility of the age ; 
when the toil of sowing is courageously borne without 
any prospect of harvest ; when good is done even to the 
ungrateful, and those who curse are blessed with deeds 
and gifts, although it is clearly foreseen that they will 
curse again ; when after a hundred failures man persists 
in faith and in love ; then, it is not mere morality which is 
the motive, for that requires a purpose, but it is religion, 
the submission to a higher and unknown law, the humble 
silence before God, the sincere love of His life that is 
manifested in us, which alone and for its own sake shall 
be saved, where the eye sees nothing else to save. 

31. Hence, the knowledge of religion, obtained by the 
pupils of the new education in their little community 
in which they grow up, cannot and shall not become 
practical. This community is well ordered, and in it 
whatever is properly attempted always succeeds ; besides, 
the yet tender age of man shall be maintained in simplicity 
and in quiet faith in his race. Let the knowledge of 
its knavery remain reserved for personal experience in 
mature and stronger years. 

It is, therefore, only in these more mature years and in 
the life of earnest purpose, long after education has left 
him to himself, that the pupil, if his social relations 
should advance from simple to higher stages, could need 
his knowledge of religion as a motive. Now, how shall 
education, which cannot test the pupil in this while he 
is in its hands, nevertheless be sure that this motive will 
work infallibly, if only the need arise ? I reply : In this 
way ; the pupil is so trained that none of the knowledge 
he possesses remains dead and cold within him when 
the possibility of its coming to life arises, but it all inevit 
ably influences life so soon as life requires it. I shall 
give further reasons for this statement in a moment, and 


so elevate the whole conception which has been treated 
in this and in the last address, and fit it into a larger 
system of knowledge. On this larger system itself I 
shall shed new light and greater clearness by that con 
ception. But first let me describe exactly the true nature 
of the new education, a general description of which I 
have just ended. 

I 32. This education, then, no longer appears, as it did 
at the beginning of our address to-day, simply as the art 

, of training the pupil to pure morality, but is rather the 
art of training the whole man completely and fully for 
manhood. In this connection there are two essentials. 
First, in regard to form, it is the real living human being, \ 
not simply the shadow and phantom of a man, who is 
to be trained to the very roots of his life. Then, in 
regard to content, all the essential component parts of 
man are to be developed equally and without exception. 
These component parts are understanding and will ; and 
education has to aim at clearness in the former and at 
purity in the latter. Now, in regard to clearness in the 
former, two main questions must be raised ; first, what 
it is that the pure will really wishes, and by what means 
this wish is to be attained ; under this head is included 
all other knowledge which is to be taught to the pupil ; 
secondly, what this pure will is in principle and essence ; 
under this head is included knowledge of religion. The 
essentials mentioned, and their development until they 
influence life, education demands absolutely, and does not 
intend to exempt anyone from them in the slightest 
degree, for everyone must be a complete man. As to 
what anyone may become in addition, and as to the par 
ticular form general human nature may take or receive 
in him, this does not concern universal education, 
and lies beyond its scope. 


33. I proceed now, by means of the following proposi 
tions, to give the further reasons I promised for the 
statement that in the pupil of the new education no 
knowledge can remain dead, and to fulfil my intention of 
elevating into a connected system all that has been said. 

From what has been said it follows that from the 
point of view of their education there are two quite 
different .and entirely opposite classes of men. At 
first every human being (and, therefore, also these two 
classes) is alike in this, that underlying the various 
manifestations of his life there is one impulse, which amid 
all change persists unchanged and is always the same. 
Incidentally, the self-comprehension of this impulse 
and its translation into ideas creates the world, and there 
is no other world but this world which is created thus 
in thought, not freely but of necessity. Now this impulse, 
which must always be translated into consciousness (and 
in this respect, once again, the two classes are alike), can be 
so translated in two ways, according to the two different 
kinds of consciousness. It is in the method of translation 
and of self-comprehension that the two classes differ. 

The first kind of consciousness, that which is the first 
in point of time to develop, is that of dim feeling. Where 
this feeling exists, the fundamental impulse is most 
usually and regularly comprehended as the individual s 
love of self ; indeed, dim feeling shows this self at first 
only as something that wills to live and to prosper. 
Hence, material self-seeking arises as the real motive and 
developing power of such a life engrossed in translating 
its original impulse thus. So long as man continues to 
understand himself in this way, so long must he act selfishly, 
being unable to do otherwise ; and, amid the ceaseless 
change in his life, it is this self-seeking alone that persists, 
always the same and to be expected with certainty. Thr 


dim feeling can also, as an unusual exception to the 
rule, pass beyond the personal self, and comprehend the 
fundamental impulse as a desire for a dimly-felt different 
order of things. Thence arises the life, adequately 
described by us elsewhere, which, exalted above self- 
seeking, is motived by ideas, dim indeed but none the 
less ideas, and in which reason rules as an instinct. Such 
comprehension of the fundamental impulse merely by 
dim feeling is the characteristic of the first class of men, 
who are trained, not by education, but by their own 
selves ; this class in turn consists of two species, which 
are distinct for some reason that is incomprehensible 
and quite beyond the art of man to discover. 

Clear knowledge is the second kind of consciousness 
which does not, as a rule, develop of itself, but must bq 
carefully fostered in the community. If the fundamental 
impulse of man were embraced in this principle, it would 
produce a second class of men quite different from the 
first. Such knowledge, which embraces fundamental love 
itself, does not leave us cold and indifferent, as indeed 
other knowledge can, but its object is loved above every 
thing, for that object is but the interpretation and 
translation of our original love itself. Other knowledge 
embraces something alien, which remains alien and 
leaves us cold ; this knowledge embraces the knower 
himself and his love, and he loves it. Now, although it 
is the same original love appearing only in different 
forms which spurs on both classes, yet disregarding this 
circumstance we can say that man is governed in the one 
case by dim feelings, in the other by clear knowledge. 

Now, that such clear knowledge shall be a direct 
incentive in life, and shall be capable of being relied on 
with certainty depends, as has been said, on this, that 
the real true love of man is to be interpreted by it, that 


this is to be immediately clear to him, and that along 
with the interpretation the feeling of that love is to be 
/ stimulated in him and experienced by him. Knowledge, 
/ therefore, is never to be developed in him without love 
/ being developed at the same time, because otherwise he 
/ would remain cold ; nor is love ever to be developed with 
out knowledge being developed at the same time, because 
\ otherwise his motive would be a dim feeling. At every step 
\ in the training, then, it is the whole man as a unit that is 
\ fashioned. The man who is always treated by education 
1 as an indivisible whole will remain so in the future, and all 
\ knowledge will inevitably become for him a motive in life. 

34. Clear knowledge instead of dim feeling being 
j thus made the first and true foundation and starting- 
\ point of life, ^sel^seeking is_ avoided altogether and cheated 

of its development. For it is dim feeling alone that 
represents to man his ego as in need of pleasure and 
afraid of pain. The clear idea does not represent it 
thus to him, but shows it rather as a member of a moral 
order ; and there is a love for that order which is kindled 
and developed along with the development of the idea. 
This education has nothing at all to do with self-seeking, 
the root of which, dim feeling, it kills through clearness. 
It neither attacks it nor develops it ; it has nothing at 
all to do with it. Even if, later, it were possible for this 
self-seeking to stir, it would find the heart already filled 
with a higher love which would deny it a place. 

35. Now this fundamental impulse of man, when 
translated into clear knowledge, does not concern itself 
with a world which is already given and existent, which 
can be accepted, indeed, merely passively just as it is, and 
in which a love that stimulates to original creative activity 
would find no sphere of action for itself. On the contrary, 
exalted to knowledge, it is concerned with a world that 


is_to be, an a priori world that exists in the future and 
ever remains in the future. The divine life, therefore, 
that underlies all appearance reveals itself never as a fixed 
and known entity, but as something that is to be ; and 
after it has become what it was to be, it will reveal itself 
again to all eternity as something that is to be. This 
divine life, then, never appears in the death of the fixed 
entity, but remains continually in the form of ever- 
flowing life. The direct appearance and manifestation 
of God is love. The interpretation of this love by 
knowledge first fixes an existence, an existence that ever 
is to be ; this is the only real world, in so far as a world 
can be real. The other world, on the contrary, which 
is given and found existing by us, is but the shadow and 
phantom, out of which knowledge builds up for its inter 
pretation of love a fixed form and a visible body. This^ 
other world is the means for, and the condition of, the 
perception of the higher world that is in itself invisible. 
Not even in that higher world does God reveal Himself 
directly, but there too only through the medium of the 
one, pure, unchangeable, and formless love ; it is in this 
love alone that He appears directly. To this love there 
is jpined^ntuitiyeknowledge, which brings^mth it ~an 
image drawn from itself, with which to clothe theobj ect 
of love that is, in itself invisible. Yet each time it is 
opposed by love, and thereby stimulated again to make a 
new form, which is once again opposed in just the same 
way. Only thus, by fusion with intuition, does love too, 
which purely in itself is one and quite incapable of pro 
gress, of infinity, and of eternity, become like it eternal 
! and infinite. The image mentioned just now, which is 
; supplied from knowledge itself, considered by itself alone 
1 and without application to the love that is clearly per- 
ceived, is the fixed and given world, or nature. The 


delusion that God s presence reveals itself in this nature 
in any way directly, or otherwise than through the 
agencies above mentioned, arises from darkness of mind 
and profanity of will. 

36. The complete avoidance of dim feeling as a 
solvent of love and the setting up in its stead of clear 
knowledge as the usual solvent, as has already been men 
tioned, can happen only as the result of a deliberate art 
of education, and hitherto has not happened in this way. 
By this means too, as we have also seen, a type of man 
quite different from men as they have usually been 
hitherto will be introduced and become the rule. As the 
result of this education, therefore, a totally new order of 
things and a new creation would begin. Now, in this 
new form, mankind would fashion itself by means of itself, 
for mankind considered as the present generation educates 
itself as the future generation ; and mankind can do this 
only by means of knowledge, the one common true light 
and air of this world which can be freely imparted and 
which binds the spiritual world into a unity. Formerly 
mankind became just what it did become and was able to 
become ; the time for such chance development has gone 
by ; for where mankind has developed most it has become 
nothing. If it is not to remain in this nothingness, it 
must henceforward make itself all that it is yet to become. 
The real destiny of the human race on earth, I said in ; 
the lectures of which these are the continuation, is in 
freedom to make itself what it really is originally. Now, 
this making of itself deliberately, and according to rule, 
must have a beginning somewhere and at some moment 
in space and time. Thereby a second great period, one 
of free and deliberate development of the human race, 
would appear in place of the first period, one of develop- 
I ment that is not free. We are of opinion that, in regard 


to time, this is the very time, and that now the race is 
exactly midway between the two great epochs of its 
life on earth. But, in regard to space, we believe that it 
is first of all the Germans who are called upon to begin 
the new era as pioneers and models for the rest of mankind. - 

37. Yet even this wholly new creation will not result | 
as a sudden change from what has gone before ; it is 
rather, especially with the Germans, the true natural 
continuation and consequence of the past. It is apparent 
and, I believe, generally granted that the impulse and 
effort of the age has been seeking to dispel dim feelings 
and to secure the sole mastery for clearness and knowledge. , 
This effort has been quite successful at least in this, 
that it has completely revealed the nothingness of the 
past. The impulse towards clearness should not be 
rooted out, nor should dull acquiescence in dim feeling 
again obtain the mastery. Rather must this impulse be 
developed still further and introduced into higher spheres, 

so that when the Nothing has been revealed, the Some 
thing, the positive truth that sets up something real, 
may likewise become manifest. The world of given and 
self-forming existence, which arises from dim feeling, has 
been submerged and shall remain below the surface. 
The world, however, which arises from original clearness, 
the world of existence that is ever to be evolved from the 
mind, shall dawn and shine forth in its splendour. 

38. Truly the prophecy of a new life in such forms 
will probably seem strange to our age, which would 
scarcely have the courage to take this promise to itself, 
if it were to look solely at the tremendous difference 
between its own prevailing opinions on these matters 
and those which have been expressed as principles of 
the new era. I will not speak of the education which 
in the past, as a rule, only the higher classes received, as a 


privilege not to be extended to everyone, and which was 
quite silent concerning any supersensuous world, and 
strove merely to produce some skill in the affairs of the 
sensuous world. It was obviously the worse kind of 
education. But I will look only at what was popular 
education and could also, in a certain very limited sense, 
be called national education, which did not preserve com 
plete silence concerning a supersensuous world. What 
were the doctrines of this education ? We put forward 
as the fundamental assumption of the new education 
that there is at the root of man s nature a pure pleasure 
in the good, which can be developed to such an extent 
that it becomes impossible for him to leave undone what 
he knows to be good and to do instead what he knows to 
be evil. The existing education, on the other hand, has 
not only assumed, but has also taught its pupils from 
early youth onwards, that man has a natural aversion from 
God s commandments, and, further, that it is absolutely 
impossible for him to keep them. What else can be ex 
pected of such instruction, if it is taken seriously and 
believed, than that each individual should yield to his 
absolutely unchangeable nature, should not try to achieve 
what has once been represented to him as impossible, 
and should not desire to be better than he and all 
others can be ? Indeed, he accepts the baseness attri 
buted to him, the baseness of acknowledging his natural 
sinfulness and wickedness, because such baseness in God s 
sight is represented to him as the sole means of coming to 
terms with Him. If perchance such a statement as ours 
comes to his ears, he cannot but think that someone merely 
wants to play a bad joke on him, because he has an ever- 
present inward feeling, which to him is perfectly clear, 
that this statement is not true, and that the opposite 
alone is true. We presuppose a knowledge, not dependent 


on any given existence, but on the contrary itself giving 
laws for that existence, and propose to immerse every 
child of man in this knowledge from the very beginning, 
and to keep him from that time onwards continually 
under its rule. On the other hand, we regard that 
nature of things which can be learned only from history 
as an insignificant accessory that follows of itself. When 
we do all this, then the ripest products of the old educa 
tion oppose us, reminding us that it is well known there 
is no a priori knowledge, and saying they would like to 
know how there can be any knowledge except through 
experience. In order that this supersenuous and a priori 
world should not reveal itself in the place where this 
seemed unavoidable, namely, in the possibility of a 
knowledge of God, and that even in God Himself there 
should be no spiritual spontaneity, but that passive sub 
mission should remain all in all to meet this danger the 
old education has hit upon the daring expedient of making 
the existence of .God an historical fact, the truth of which 
is established by the examination of evidence. 

So in truth the matter stands ; yet our generation 
should not therefore despair of itself, for these and all 
other similar phenomena are themselves not independent, 
but only flowers and fruits of the uncultivated root of 
the past. If only this generation submits quietly to the 1 
grafting of a new, nobler, and stronger root, the old will 
be killed, and its flower and fruits, deprived of further 
nourishment, will of themselves wither and fall. As yet 
this generation cannot believe our words ; it is inevitable 
that they seem to it like fairy tales. Nor do we want such 
belief ; we want only room to work and to act. After 
wards it will see, and it will believe its own eyes. 

39. Everyone who is acquainted with the productions 
of recent years will have noticed long ago that here again 



those principles and views are expressed which modern 
German philosophy since its origin has preached again 
and again, because it could do nothing else but preach. 
It is now sufficiently clear that these sermons have 
vanished without result into thin air, and the reason for 
this is evident too. A living thing affects only something 
living ; but in the actual life of the age there is no rela 
tionship at all with this philosophy, which goes its own 
way in a sphere that is not yet revealed to this age, and 
which calls for sense-organs that it has not yet developed. 
(This philosophy is not at home in our age, but is an 
I anticipation of time, and a principle of life ready in 
advance for a generation which shall first awake to light 
in it. It must give up all claim on the present genera 
tion ; but, in order not to be idle until then, let it now 
undertake the task of fashioning for itself the generation 
to which it does belong. As soon as this, its immediate 
business, has become clear to it, it will be able to live in 
peace and friendship with a generation which in other 
respects does not please it. The education which we have 
hitherto described is likewise the education for this 
philosophy. Yet in a certain sense it alone can be the 
educator in this education ; and so it had to be a fore 
runner neither understood nor acceptable. But the 
time will come when it will be understood and received 
with joy ; and that is why our generation should not 
despair of itself. 

40. Let this generation hearken to the vision of an 
ancient prophet in a situation no less lamentable. Thus 
says the prophet l by the river of Chebar, the comforter 
of those in captivity, not in their own, but in a foreign 
land. " The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried 
me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the 
1 [Ezekiel xxxvii. i-io. I have used the Authorised Version here.] 


midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused 
me to pass by them round about : and, behold, there 
were very many in the open valley ; and, lo, they were 
very dry. And He said unto me, Son of man, can these 
bones live ? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. 
Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and 
say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the 
Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, 
Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall 
live : and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up 
flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath 
in you, and ye shall live ; and ye shall know that I am 
the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded : and 
as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, 
and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And 
when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon 
them, and the skin covered them above ; but there was 
no breath in them. Then said He unto me, Prophesy 
unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the 
wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four 
winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they 
may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and 
the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood 
up upon their feet, an exceeding great army." 

Though the elements of our higher spiritual life may 
be just as dried up, and though the bonds of our national 
unity may lie just as torn asunder and as scattered in 
wild disorder as the bones of the slain in the prophecy, 
though they may have whitened and dried for centuries 
in tempests, rainstorms, and burning sunshine, the 
quickening breath of the spiritual world has not yet 
ceased to blow. It will take hold, too, of the dead bones 
of our national body, and join them together, that they / 
may stand glorious in new and radiant life. 



(41. WE have said that the means of educating a new race 
of men, which is being put forward in these addresses, 
must first be_ applied by Germans to Germans, and that 
it concerns our nation in a special and peculiar way. 
This statement also requires proof ; and here, as before, 
we shall begin with what is highest and most general, 
showing what is the characteristic of the German as 
such, apart from the fate that has now befallen him ; 
showing, too, that this has been his characteristic ever 
since^ he began to exist ; ancTpointing out how this 
fi characteristic in itself gives him alone, above all other 
f European nations, the capacity of responding to such an 
I education. 

42. In the first place, the German is a branch of the 
Teutonic race. Of the latter it is sufficient to say here 
that its mission wasjto_cgmbinejthe socialorder_established 
in ancient Europe with the true jejigion preserved in 
ancient jVsia, and in this way to develop in and by itself 
a new and different age after the ancient world had 
perished. Further, it is sufficient to distinguish the German 
particularly, in contrast only to the other Teutonic peoples 
who came into existence with him. Other neo-European 
nations, as, for instance, those of Slav descent, do not seem 
as yet to have developed distinctly enough in comparison 



with the rest of Europe to make it possible to give a 
definite description of them ; whereas others of the same 
Teutonic descent, as, for instance, the Scandinavians, 
although the main reason for differentiation (which will 
be stated immediately) does not apply to them, are yet ~ 
regarded here as indisputably Germans, and included in 
all the general consequences of our observations. 

43. But at the very outset the special observations 
which we are now on the point of making must be pre 
faced by the following remark. As the cause of the 
differentiation that has taken place in what was originally 
one stock I shall cite an event which, considered merely 
as an event, lies clear and incontestable before the eyes 
of all. I shall then adduce some manifestations of the 
differentiation that has taken place ; and these manifesta 
tions, considered merely as events, could perhaps be 
made just as clear and obvious. But with regard to the 
connection of the latter, as consequences, with the 
former, as their cause, and with regard to the deduction 
of the consequences from the cause, I cannot, speaking 
generally, reckon upon being equally clear and con 
vincing to everyone. It is true that in this matter also 
I am not making entirely new statements which no one 
has heard of before ; on the contrary, there are among 
us many individuals who are either well prepared for 
such a view of the matter, or perhaps already familiar 
with it. Among the majority, however, there are in 
circulation ideas about the subject of our discussion 
which differ greatly from our own. To correct such 
ideas, and to refute all the objections to single points 
that might be raised by those who are not practised in 
taking a comprehensive view of a subject, would far 
exceed the limits of our time and our intention. I must 
content myself with placing before such people, merely 


as a subject for their further consideration, what I have 
to say in this connection, remarking that in my system of 
thought it does not stand so separate and detached as 
it appears in this place, nor is it without a foundation 
in the depths of knowledge. I could not omit it entirely, 
partly on account of the thoroughness of treatment 
demanded by my whole subject, and partly because of 
its important consequences, which will appear later in 
the course of our addresses, and which are intimately 
connected with our present design. 

44. The first and immediately obvious difference 
between the fortunes of t^e Germans and the other 
branches which grew from the same root is this : the 
former remained in the original^ dwelling-places of the 
ancestraLstpck, whereas the latter emigrated to other 
places ; the former retained and developed the original 
language. of the ancestral stock, whereas the latter adopted 
a foreign language and gradually reshaped it in a way of 
their own. This earliest difference must be regarded as 
the explanation of those which came later, e.g., that in 

/fKe originaTtattefferTd^in accordance with Teutonic 
primitive custom, there continuecTtirfaea, federation of 

LStateTunS^fTTieaa^vSh limite3Tpowefs7wEereaT in the 
foreign countries the form of government was brought 
more in accordance with the existing Roman method, 
and monarchies were established, etc. It is not these 
later differences that explain the one first mentioned. 

45. Now, of the changes which have been indicated, 
the first, the change of home, is quite unimportant. 
Man easily makes himself at home under any sky, and the 


by the place of abode, dominates and changes the latter 
after its own pattern. Moreover, the variety of natural 
influences in the region inhabitated by the Teutons is 


not very great. Just as little importance should be 
attached to the fact that the Teutonic race has inter 
mingled with the former inhabitants of the countries it 
conquered ; for, after all, the victors and masters and 
makers of the new people that arose from this inter 
mingling were none but Teutons. Moreover, in the 
mother-country there was an intermingling with Slavs 
similar to that which took place abroad with Gauls, 
Cantabrians, etc., and perhaps of no less extent ; so 
that it would not be easy at the present day for any one 
of the peoples descended from Teutons to demonstrate 
a greater purity of descent than the others. 

46. More important, however, and in my opinion the 
cause of a complete contrast between the Germans and 
the other peoples of Teutonic descent, is the second 
change, the change ~o,f language. Here, as I wish to point 
out distinctly at the very beginning, fit is not a question 
of the special quality of the language retained by the one 
branch or adopted by the other ; on the contrary, the 
importance lies solely in the fact that in the one case 
something native is_retained, while in the~ other case 
something ^foreign is adopted. Nor is it a question of 
the previous ancestry of those who continue to speak an 
original language ; on the contrary, the importance 
lies solely in the fact that this language continues to be 
spoken, for ,rjiejfl are formed b^Janguage far more than""] 

language is formed by men. 

47. In order to make clear, so far as explanation is 
possible and necessary in this place, the consequences of 
such a difference in the creation of peoples, and to make 
clear the particular kind of contrast in national character 
istics that necessarily follows from this difference, I must 
invite you to a consideration of the nature of language 
in general. 


Language in general, and especially the designation 
of objects in language by sounds from the organs of 
speech, is in no way dependent on arbitrary decisions 
and agreements. On the contrary there is, to begin with, 
a fundamental law, in accordance with which every idea 
becomes in the human organs of speech one particular 
sound and no other. Just as objects are represented in 
the sense-organs of an individual by a definite form, 
colour, etc., so they are represented in language, which is 
the organ of social man, by a definite sound. It is not 
really man that speaks, but human nature speaks in him 
and announces itself to others of his kind. Hence one 
should say : There is and can be but one single language. 

Now indeed, and this is the second point, language 
in this unity for man, simply as man, may never and no 
where have arisen. Everywhere it may have been further 
changed and formed by two groups of influences ; firstly, 
those exerted on the organs of speech by the locality 
and by more or less frequent use, and, secondly, those 
exerted on the order of the designations by the order 
in which..obj.ecs_^vere observed and, designated. Never 
theless, in this also there is no chance or arbitrariness, 
but strict law ; and in an organ of speech thus affected by 
the conditions mentioned there necessarily arises, not 
the one pure human language, but a deviation therefrom, 
and, moreover, this particular deviation and no other. 

If we give the name of people to men whose_organs of 
speech -are influenced by the same external conditions, 
who live together, and who develop their language in 
continuous communication with each other, then we 
must say : The language of this people is necessarily 
just what it is, and in reality this people does not express 
its knowledge, but its knowledge expresses itself out of 
the mouth of the people. 


48. Despite all the changes brought about, as the 
language progresses, by the circumstances mentioned 
above, this conformity with law remains uninterrupted ; 
and indeed, for all who remain in uninterrupted com 
munication, and who all hear in due course whatever 
any individual for the first time expresses, there is one 
and the same conformity with law. After thousands of 
years, and after all the changes undergone in that time 
by the external manifestation of the language of this 
people, it ever remains nature s one, same, living power 
of speech, which in the beginning necessarily arose in the 
way it did, which has flowed down through all conditions 
without interruption, and in each necessarily became what 
it did become, which in the end necessarily was what it 
now is, and in time to come necessarily will be what it 
then will be. The pure human language, in conjunction^ 
first with the speech-organ of the people when its first 
sound was uttered, and the product of these, in conjunc 
tion further with all the developments which this first 
sound in the given circumstances necessarily acquired- 
all this together gives as its final result the present language 
of the people. For that reason, too, the language always 
remains the same language. Even though, after some 
centuries have passed7The descendants do not understand 
the language of their ancestors, because for them the 
transitions have been lost, nevertheless there is from the 
beginning a continuous transition without a leap, a 
transition^ always imperceptible at the time, and only 
made perceptible when further transitions occur and the 
whole process appears as a leap forward. There has never 
been a time when contemporaries ceased to understand 
each other, for their eternal go-between and interpreter 
always was, and has continued to be, the common power 
of nature speaking through them all. Such is the con- 


dition of language, considered as the designation of objects 
directly perceived by the senses ; and in the beginning 
all human language is this. When the people raises 
itself from this stage of sensuous perception to a grasp 
of the supersensuous, then, if this supersensuous is to 
be repeated at will and kept from being confused with the 
sensuous by the first individual, and if it is to be com 
municated to others for their convenience and guidance, 
the only way at first to keep firm hold of it will be to 
designate a Self as the instrument of a supersensuous 
world and to distinguish it precisely from the same Self as 
the instrument of the sensuous world to contrast a soul, 
a mind, etc., with a physical body. As all the various 
objects of this supersensuous world appear only in and 
exist for that supersensuous instrument, the only possible 
way of designating them in language would be to say 
that their special relation to their instrument is similar 
to the relation of such-and-such particular sensuous 
objects to the sensuous instrument, and in this relation 
to compare a particular supersensuous thing with a 
particular sensuous one, using this comparison to indicate 
by language the place of the supersensuous thing in the 
supersensuous instrument. In this sphere language has 
no further power ; it gives a sensuous image of the 
supersensuous thing, merely with the remark that it is 
an image of that kind ; he who wishes to attain to the 
thing itself must set his own mental instrument in motion 
according to the rule given him by the image. Speaking 
T generally, it is evident that this designation of the super- 
sensuous by means^of^jensuous images must in every 
-bertogcTitioned by the stage of development which 

!the power of sensuo us perception has reached in the 
p.eople under -consideration. Hence, the origin and pro 
gress of this designation by sensuous images will be very 


different in different languages and will depend on the 
difference in the relation that has existed and continues 
to exist between the sensuous and intellectual develop 
ment of the people speaking a language. 

49. We shall next illustrate this observation, clear 
though it is in itself, by an example. Anything that arises, 
according to the conception of the fundamental impulse 
explained in the preceding address, directly in clear 
perception and not in the first place in dim feeling 
anything of this kind, and it is always a supersensuous 
object, is denoted by a Greek word which is frequently 
used in the German language also ; it is called an Idea 
[German, Idee\ ; and this word conveys exactly the same 
sensuous image as the word Gesicbt in German, which 
occurs in the following expressions in Luther s translation 
of the Bible : Ye shall see visions \Gesicb te\ 9 ye shall 
dream dreams. Idea or Vision, in its sensuous meaning, 
would be something that could be perceived only by the 
bodily eye and not by any other sense such as taste, 
hearing, etc. ; it would be such a thing as a rainbow, or 
the forms which pass before us in dreams. Idea or 
Vision, in its supersensuous meaning, would denote, 
first of all, in conformity with the sphere in which the 
word is to be valid, something that cannot be perceived 
by the body at all, but only by the mind ; and then, 
something that cannot, as many other things can, be 
perceived by the dim feeling of the mind, but only by the 
eye of the mind, by clear perception. Further, even if 
one were inclined to assume that for the Greeks the basis 
of this sensuous designation was certainly the rainbow and 
similar phenomena, one would have to admit that their 
sensuous perception had already advanced to the stage 
of noticing this difference between things, viz., that some 
reveal themselves to all or several senses and others to 


the eye alone, and that, besides, if the developed conception 
had become clear to them, they would have had to desig 
nate it not in this way but in some other. Also their 
superior mental clearness would then be evident as 
compared, say, with that of another people which was 
not able to indicate the difference between the sensuous 
and the supersensuous by an image taken from the 
deliberate waking state, but had gone to dreams to find 
an image for another world. It would at the same time 
be plain that this difference was not based on the greater 
or smaller strength of the sense for the supersensuous in 
the two peoples, but solely on the difference between their 
sensuous clearness at the time when they sought to desig 
nate supersensuous things. 

/ 50. Thus all designation of the supersensuous is con 
ditioned by the extent and clearness of sensuous percep 
tion in him who gives the designation. The image is 
clear to him and expresses to him in an entirely com 
prehensible way the relation of the thing conceived to 
the mental instrument, because this relation is explained 
to him by another, direct, and living relation to his 
sensuous instrument. The new designation which thus 
arises, together with all the new clearness which sensuous 
perception itself acquires by this extended use of the sign, 
is now deposited in the language ; and the supersensuous 
perception possible in the future is now designated in 
accordance with its relation to the total supersensuous 
and sensuous perception deposited in the whole language. 
So it goes on without interruption, and so the immediate 
clearness and comprehensibility of the images is never 
broken off, but remains a continuous stream. More 
over, since language is not an arbitrary means of com 
munication, but breaks forth out of the life of under 
standing as an immediate force of nature, a language 


continuously developed according to this law has also- 
the power oT immediately affecting and stimulating life. 
Just as things immediately present influence man, so 
must the words of such a language influence him who 
understands them ; for they, too, are things, and not an 
arbitrary contrivance. Such is the case first in the 
sensuous world. Nor is it otherwise in the supersensuous ; 
for, although in the latter the continuous process of observ 
ing nature is interrupted by free contemplation and 
reflection, and at this point God who is without image 
appears, yet designation by language at once inserts the 
Thing-without-image in the continuous connection of 
things which have an image. So, in this respect also, 
the continuous progress of language, which broke forth 
in the beginning as a force of nature, remains uninter 
rupted, and into the stream of designation no arbitrari 
ness enters. For the same reason the supersensuous part 
of a language thus continuously developed cannot lose 
its power of stimulating life in him who but sets his 
mental instrument in motion. The words of such a 
language in all its parts are life and create life. Now if, 
in respect of the development of the language for what 
is supersensuous, we make the assumption that the people i 
of this language have continued in unbroken communica- 1 
tion, and that what oiTte has thought and expressed^ has j 
before long come to the knowledge of all, then what has / 
previously been said in general is valid for all who speak / 
this language. o all who will but think the image 
deposited in the language is clear ; to all who really 
think it is alive and stimulates their life. 

51. Such is the case, I say, with a language which, 
from the time the first sound broke forth among the same 
people, has developed continuously out of the actual 
common life of this people, and into which no element 


has ever entered that did not express an observation 
actually experienced by this people, and, moreover, 
an observation standing in a connection of wide-spread 
reciprocal influence with all the other observations of 
the same people. It does not matter if ever so many 
-.individuals of other race and other language are incorpora- 
I ted with the people speaking this language"; provided 
the former are not permitted to bring the sphere of their 
observations up to the position from which the language 
is thereafter to develop, they remain dumb in the com 
munity and without influence on the language, until 
the time comes when they themselves have entered into 
the sphere of observation of the original people. Hence 
I they do not form the language ; it is the language which 
forms them. 

- -52. But the exact opposite of all that has so far been 
( said takes place~when~!Tpeople gives up its own language 
) and adopts a foreign one which is already highly developed 
as regards the designation of supersensuous things. I 
do not mean when it yields itself quite freely to the 
influence of this foreign language and is quite content 
to remain without a language until it has entered into 
the circle of observation of this foreign language, but when 
it forces its own circle of observation on the adopted 
language, which, when it develops from the position in 
which they found it, must thenceforward proceed in this 
circle of observation. In respect of the sensuous part 
of the language, such an event, indeed, is without con 
sequences. For among every people the children must 
in any case learn that part of the language just as if the 
signs were arbitrary, and thus recapitulate in this matter 
the whole previous linguistic development of the nation. 
But in this sphere of the senses every sign can be made 
quite clear by directly looking at or touching the thing 


designated. At most, the result of this would be that 
the first generation of a people which thus changed its 
language would be compelled when adults to go back 
to the years of childhood ; with their descendants, 
however, and with subsequent generations, everything 
would doubtless be in the old order again. On the other 
hand, this change has consequences of the greatest impor 
tance in respect of the supersensuous part of the language. 
For the first possessors of the language this part was 
formed in the way already described ; but, for those who 
acquire the language later, the verbal image contains a 
comparison with an observation of the senses, which 
they have either passed over long ago without the accom 
panying mental development, or else have not yet had, 
and perhaps never can have. The most that they 
can do in such a case is to let the verbal image and its^ 
mental significance explain each other ; in this way they 
receive the flat and dead history of a foreign culture 
but not in any way a culture of their own. They ger 
symbols which for them are neither immediately clear 
nor able to stimulate life, but which must seem to them 
entirely as arbitrary as the sensuous part of the language. 
For them this advent of history, and nothing but history, 
as expositor, makes the language dead and closed in respect (A 
of its whole sphere of imagery, and its continuous onward 
flow is broken off. Although, beyond this sphere, they^ 
may again develop the language as a living language in 
their own way and so far as this is possible from such a 
starting-point, nevertheless that element remains a 
dividing wall at which, without exception, language in its 
original emergence from life as a force of nature and the 
actual language s renewal of contact with life are broken. 
Although such a language may be stirred on the surface 
by the wind of life and thus present the appearance of 



having a life of its own, nevertheless it has a dead element 
deeper down, and by the entrance of the new circle of 
observation and the breach with the old one it is cut off 
from the living root. 

53. We proceed to illustrate the foregoing by an 
example, remarking incidentally that such a language, 
at bottom dead and incomprehensible, very easily lends 
itself to perversion and to misuse in glossing over every 
kind of human corruption, and that this is not possible 
in a language which has never died. I take as my example 
the three notorious words, Humanity, Popularity, and 
Liberality. When these words are used in speaking to 
a German who has learnt no language but his own they 
are to him nothing but a meaningless noise, which has 
no relationship of sound to remind him of anything he 
knows already and so takes him completely out of his 
circle of observation and beyond any observation possible 
to him. Now, if the unknown word nevertheless attracts 
his attention by its foreign, distinguished, and euphonious 
tone, and if he thinks that what sounds so lofty must 
also have some lofty meaning, he must have this meaning 
explained to him from the very beginning and as some 
thing entirely new to him, and he can only accept this 
explanation, blindly. So he becomes tacitly accus 
tomed to acknowledge as really existing and valuable 
something which, if left to himself, he would perhaps 
never have found worth mentioning. Let no one 
believe that the case is much different with the neo-Latin 
peoples, who utter those words as if they were words 
of their mother-tongue. Without a scholarly study of 
antiquity and of its actual language they understand 
the roots of those words just as little as the German 
does. Now if, instead of the word Humanity [Human- 
itdi], we had said to a German the word Menschlichkeit, 


which is its literal translation, he would have understood 
us without further historical explanation, but he would 
have said : " Well, to be a man [Mensch~\ and not a wild 
beast is not very much after all." Now it may be that 
no Roman would ever have said that ; but the German 
would say it, because in his language manhood [Mensch- 
heif\ has remained an idea of the senses only and has 
never become a symbol of a supersensuous idea as it did 
among the Romans. Our ancestors had taken note of 
the separate human virtues and designated them symboli 
cally in language perhaps long before it occurred to them 
to combine them in a single concept as contrasted with 
animal nature ; and that is no discredit to our ancestors 
as compared with the Romans. Now anyone who, in 
spite of this, wished to introduce that foreign and Roman 
symbol artificially and, as it were, by a trick into the 
language of the Germans, would obviously be lowering 
their ethical standard in passing on to them as distinguished 
and commendable something which may perhaps be so 
in the foreign language, but which the German, in accord 
ance with the ineradicable nature of his national power 
of imagination, only regards as something already known 
and indispensable. A closer examination might enable * 
us to demonstrate that those Teutonic races which j 
adopted the Latin language experienced, even in the | 
beginning, similar degradations of their former ethical I 
standard because of inappropriate foreign symbols ; \ 
but on this circumstance we do not now wish to lay too 
great a stress. 

Further, if in speaking to the German, instead of the 
words Popularity \_Popularitat] and Liberality \Liber- 
alitat], I should use the expressions, " striving for favour 
with the great mob," and " not having the mind of a 
slave," which is how they must be literally translated, 



he would, to begin with, not even obtain a clear and vivid 
sense-image such as was certainly obtained by a Roman of 
old. The latter saw every day with his own eyes the 
flexible politeness of an ambitious candidate to all and 
sundry, and outbursts of the slave mind too ; and those 
words vividly re-presented these things to him. Even 
from the Roman of a later period these sights were 
removed by the change in the form of government and 
the introduction of Christianity ; and, besides, his own 
language was beginning to a great extent to die away 
in his own mouth. This was more especially due to 
Christianity, which was alien to him, and which he 
i could neither ward off nor thoroughly assimilate. How 
was impossible for this language, already half dead in its 
own home, to be transmitted alive to a foreign people ? 
How could it now be transmitted to us Germans ? More 
over, with regard to the symbolic mental content of 
both those expressions, there is in the word Popularity, 
even at the very beginning, something base, which was 
perverted in their mouths and became a virtue, owing to 
the corruption of the nation and of its constitution. 
The German never falls into this perversion, so long as 
it is put before him in his own language. But when 
Liberality is translated by saying that a man has not 
the soul of a slave, or, to give it a modern rendering, has 
not a lackey s way of thinking, he once more replies that 
to say this also means very little. 

Moreover, into these verbal images, which even in their 

pure form among the Romans arose at a low stage of 

ethical culture or designated something positively base, 

there were stealthily introduced during the development 

X)f the neo-Latin languages the idea of lack of seriousness 

/ about social relations, the idea of self-abandonment, and 

L the idea of heartless laxity. In order to bring these 


things into esteem among us, use was made of the respect 
we have for antiquity and foreign countries to introduce 
the same words into the German language. It was done x , 
so quietly that no one was fully aware of what was actually \" 
intended. The purpose and the result of all admixture 
has ever been this : first of all to remove the hearer from 
the immediate comprehensibility and definiteness which 
are the inherent qualities of every primitive language ; 
then, when he has been prepared to accept such words 
in blind faith, to supply him with the explanation that 
he needs ; and, finally, in this explanation to mix vice 
and virtue together in such a way that it is no easy matter 
to separate them again. Now, if the true meaning of" 
those three foreignjwords, provided they have a meaning, 
had been expressed to the German in his own words 
and within his own circle of verbal images, in this way : 
Menschenfreundlicbkeii (friendliness to man), Leutselig- 
keit (condescension or affability), and Edelmut (noble- 
mindedness), he would have understood us ; but the base 
associations we have mentioned could never have been 
slipped into those designations. Within the range of 
German speech such a wrapping-up in incomprehen 
sibility and darkness arises either from clumsiness or 
evil design ; it is to be avoided, and the means always 
ready to hand is to translate into right and true German. 
But in the neo-Latin languages this incomprehensibility is 
of their very nature and origin, and there is no means of 
avoiding it, for they do not possess any living language |j 
by which they might examine the dead one ; indeed, || 
when one looks at the matter closely, they are entirely 
without a mother-tongue. 

54. This single example will serve to demonstrate 
what could with ease be followed up throughout the whole 
range of the language and found present everywhere. 


It is intended to explain to you as clearly as is here 
possible what has so far been said. We are speaking 
of the supersensuous part of the language, and not 
immediately or directly of the sensuous part. This super- 
sensuous part, in a language that has always remained 
alive, is expressed by symbols of sense, comprehending 
lat every step in complete unity the sum total of the 
teensuous and mental life of the nation deposited in the 
language, for the purpose of designating an idea that like 
wise is not arbitrary, but necessarily proceeds from the 
jwhole previous life of the nation. From the idea and 
its designation a keen eye, looking back, couTcThot fail 
to reconstruct the whole history of the nation s culture. 
But in a dead language this supersensuous part, which, 
while the language was still alive, was what we have 
described, becomes with the death of the language a 
tattered collection of arbitrary and totally inexplicable 
symbols for ideas that are just as arbitrary ; and with 
both idea and symbol there is nothing else to be done 
but just to learn them. 

55. With this our immediate task is performed, which 
was to find the characteristic that differentiates the 
German from the other peoples of Teutonic descent. 
The difference arose at the moment of the separation 
of the common stock and consists in this, that the 
^German speaks a language which has been alive ever 
since it first issued from the force of nature, whereas 
the other Teutonic races speak a language which has 
movement on the surface only but is dead at the root. 
To this circumstance alone, to life on the one hand and 
_death on the other, we assign the difference ; but we 
~are not in any way taking up the further question of 
the intrinsic value of the German language. Between 
I life and death there is no comparison ; the foimer has 


infinitely more value than the latter. All direct 
parisons between German and neo-Latin languages are 
therefore null and void, and are obliged to discuss things 
which are not worth discussing. If the intrinsic value of 
the German language is to be discussed, at the very least 
a language of equal rank, a language equally primitive, 
as, for example, Greek, must enter the lists ; but such a 
comparison is far beyond our present purpose. 

56. What an immeasurable influence on the whole _ 
human development of a people the character of its lan 
guage may have its language, which accompanies the in 
dividual into the most secret depths of his mind in thought 
and will and either hinders him or gives him wings, which] 
unites within its domain the whole mass of men who speak 
it into one single and common understanding, which is 
the true point of meeting and mingling for the world 
of the senses and the world of spirits, and fuses the ends 
of both in each other in such a fashion that it is impossible 
to tell to which of the two it belongs itself how different 
the results of this influence may prove to be where the 
relation is as life to death,* all this in general is easily 
perceived. In the first place, the German has a means 
of investigating his living language more thoroughly , 
by comparing it with the closed Latin language, which 
differs very widely from his own in the development of 
verbal images ; on the other hand, he has a means of 
understanding Latin more clearly in the same way. This 
is not possible to a member of the neo-Latin peoples, 
who fundamentally remains a captive in the sphere of 
one and the same language. Then the German, in learn 
ing the original Latin, at the same time acquires to a 
certain extent the derived languages also ; and if he should 
learn the former more thoroughly than a foreigner does, 
which for the reason given the German will very likely 


be able to do, he at the same time learns to understand 
this foreigner s own language far more thoroughly and 
to possess it far more intimately than does the foreigner 
TTiimself who speaks it. Hence the German, if only he 
j makes use of all his advantages, can always be^uperior 
^ to the foreigner and understand him fully, even better 
than the foreigner understands himself, and can translate 
the foreigner to the iullest extent. On the other hand, 
the foreigner can never understand the true German 
without a thorough and extremely laborious study of 
the German language, and there is no doubt that he will 
leave what is genuinely German untranslated. The things 
in these languages which can only be learnt from the 
foreigner himself are mostly new fashions of speech 
due to boredom and caprice, and one is very modest when 
one consents to receive instruction of this kind. In most 
cases one would be able, instead, to show foreigners how 
they ought to speak according to the primitive language 
and its law of change, and that the new fashion is worth- 
ess and offends against ancient and traditional good usage. 
57. In addition to the special consequence just men 
tioned, the whole wealth of consequences we spoke of 
comes about of itself. 

It is, however, our intention to treat these consequences 
as a whole, fundamentally and comprehensively, from 
the point of view of the bond that unites them, in order 
to give in this way a thorough description of the German 
in contrast to the other Teutonic races. For the present 
I briefly indicate these consequences thus : 

(1) Where the people has a living language, mental 
t culture influences life ; where the contrary is the case, 
mental culture and life go their way independently of 
, each other. 

(2) For the same reason, a people of the former kind 


is really and truly in earnest about all mental culture 
and wishes it to influence life ; whereas a people of the 
latter kind looks upon mental culture rather as an ingeni 
ous game and has no wish to make it anything more. 

(3) From No. 2 it follows that the former has honest 
diligence and earnestness in all things, and takes pains ; 
whereas the latter is easy-going and guided by its happy 

(4) From all this together it follows that in a nation 
of the former kind the mass of the people is capable of 
education, and the educators of such a nation test their 
discoveries on the people and wish to influence it ; 
whereas in a nation of the latter kind the educated classes 
separate themselves from the people and regard it as 
nothing more than a blind instrument of their plans/ 
The further discussion of the characteristics indicated I 
reserve for the next address. 



58. WITH the object of describing the characteristic 
quality of the Germans we have pointed out the funda 
mental difference between them and the other peoples 
of Teutonic descent, viz., that the former have remained 
in the uninterrupted flow of a primitive language which 
develops itself continuously out of real life, whereas the 
latter adopted a language which was foreign to them and 
which under their influence has been killed. At the end 
of the previous address we indicated other manifestations 
among these peoples, who differ from each other in the 
way we have shown. To-day we shall deal more fully 
with these manifestations, which are a necessary conse 
quence of that fundamental difference, and establish them 
more firmly on their common foundation. 

An investigation which endeavours to be thorough can 
rise too high to be involved in many disputes or to arouse 
much jealousy. Our method of investigation in the 
present instance will be the same as it was in the one to 
which this is a sequel. We shall take the fundamental 
difference that has been indicated, and deduce its con 
sequences step by step ; our sole concern will be to see 
that this deduction is correct. Whether the various 
manifestations which, according to this deduction, ought 



to exist, are actually met with in experience is a question 
which I shall leave entirely to you and to any observer fore I 
decision. As regards the German especially, I shali- 
indeed prove at the proper time that he has in fact revealehe 
himself to be what our deduction shows he was bouity, 
to be. But, as regards Teutons in other countries, are 
shall have no objection if one of them, with a real undoed 
standing of the true nature of our present discussio, is 
is subsequently successful in proving that his compatrioth 
have been just what the Germans have been, and is ablchj 
to show that they are entirely free from the opposite <V 
characteristics. In general, our description even Jr* 
these opposite characteristics will not dwell on what is 
harsh and disadvantageous, for such a method makes 
victory more easy than honourable, but will merely 
point out what are the inevitable consequences, and will 
do this with as much consideration as is consistent with 
the truth. 

59. The first consequence of that fundamental differ 
ence, I said, was this : among the people with a living 
language mental culture influences life, whereas among a 
people of the opposite kind mental culture and life go 
their separate ways. It will be useful first of all to explain 
more fully the meaning of this statement. First of all, 
when we speak here of life and of the influence exerted 
upon it by mental culture, we must be understood to mean 
primitive life in its flow from the source of all spiritual 
life, from God, the development of human relationships 
according to their archetype, and, therefore, the creation 
of a new life such as has never hitherto existed. We are 
by no means discussing the mere preservation from decay 
of those relationships in their present stage. StLl less 
have we in mind the assistance of individual members 
who have fallen behind in the general development. 



Next, when we speak of mental culture we are to under- 
tand thereby, first of all, philosophy, for it is philosophy 
r hich scientifically comprehends the eternal archetype 
. all spiritual life. We must designate it by the foreign 
me, as the Germans have shown themselves unwilling 
adopt the German name l that was recently suggested, 
r this science, and for all science based upon it, the claim 
low made that it influences the life of a people who have 
living language. But, in apparent contrast to this 
ssertion, it has often been said, and by some among 
mrselves, that philosophy, science, the fine arts, etc., 
^c ends in themselves and not handmaids of life, and that 
it is degrading them to esteem them according to their 
utility in the service of life. Here we must define these 
expressions more closely and guard against any misinter 
pretation. They are true in the following double but 
limited sense ; first, that it is not the duty of science or 
art, as some have thought, to be useful at what may be 
called a lower stage of life, e.g., temporal or sensuous life, 
or for everyday edification ; then, that an individual, 
in consequence of his personal seclusion from a spiritual 
world regarded as a whole, may be entirely absorbed in 
these special branches of the universal divine life without 
needing a stimulus from outside them, and may find in 
them complete satisfaction. But they are in no wise 
true in the strict sense, for it is just as impossible that 
there should be more than one end in itself as that there 
should be more than one Absolute. Thejsole end in 
itself, apart from which there can be no other, is spiritual 
life. Now this expresses itself in part and appears as an 
eternal stream, with itself as source that is, as eternal 
activity. This activity . eternally receives its pattern 
from science, and its ability to form itself according to 
1 [Wissenschaftslehre, i.e. Theory of science.] 


this pattern from art, and in so far it might appear that } 
science and art exist as means to an end, which is active ) 
life. But in"this form of activity life itself is never com 
pleted and made absolute as a unity, but goes on into the 
infinite. Now, if life is to exist as such an absolute unity, 
it must be in another form. This form is that of pure 
thought, which produces the religious insight described 
in the third address, a form which, as absolute unity, is 
utterly incompatible with infinity of action and which 
can never be completely expressed in action. Hence both 
of them, thought as well as activity, are forms incompat- V 
ible only in the world of appearance, but in the work 
beyond appearance they are both equally one and the 
same absolute life. One cannot say that thought exists 
and exists as it does, for the sake of activity, or vice versa ; 
one must say that both must simply exist, since life must 
be a completed whole in the phenomenal world, just as 
it is in the /noumenal. Within this sphere, therefore, 
and according to this view, it is not nearly enough to say 
that science exerts an influence on life ; science itself 
is life perpetual in itself. Or, to connect this with a 
well-known expression, one sometimes hears the question 
put : What is the use of all knowledge, if one does not 
act in accordance with it ? This remark implies that 
knowledge is regarded as a means to action, and the 
latter as the real end. One could put the question 
the other way round and ask : How can we possibly 
act well without knowing what the Good is ? This 
way of expressing it would regard knowledge as con 
ditioning action. But both expressions are one-sided, 
and the truth is that both, knowledge as well as 
action, are in the same way inseparable elements of I 
rational life. 

60. But science is life perpetual in itself, as we have 


just expressed it, only when thought is the real mind and 
disposition of the one who thinks, in such a way that, 
without special effort and even without being clearly 
conscious of it, he views and judges everything else that 
he thinks, views, and judges according to that fundamental 
thought, and, if the latter exerts an influence on action, 
just as inevitably acts according to it. But thought is 
in no wise life and disposition when it is thought only as 
the thought of a life that is strange or foreign, however 
clearly and completely it may be comprehended as a 
thought that has a mere possibility of existence in this 
way, and however clearly one might think, as perhaps 
bomeone could think, in this fashion. In this latter case, 
between our thinking at second-hand and our real think 
ing there lies a wide field of chance and freedom a 
freedom that we feel no desire to use ; and so this think 
ing at second-hand remains apart from us ; it is a merely 
possible thinking, one made free from us and always freely 
to be repeated. In the former case thought has by itself 
directly taken hold of our self, and made it into itself ; 
and through this reality of thought for us, arising in this 
way, we obtain insight into its necessity. As we have just 
said, no freedom can forcibly bring about the latter con 
sequence, which must be produced of itself, and thought 
itself must take hold of us and form us according to itself. 
61. Now this living effectiveness of thought is very 
much furthered and, indeed, where the thinking is of the 
proper depth and strength, even made inevitable, by think 
ing and designating in a living language. The symbol 
in such a language is itself directly living and sensuous ; 
it re-presents all real life and so takes hold of and exerts 
an influence on life. To the possessor of such a language 
spirit speaks directly and reveals itself as man does to man. 
But the symbol of a dead language does not stimulate 


anything directly ; in order to enter the living stream of 
such a language one must first recapitulate knowledge 
acquired by the study of history from a world that has 
died, and transport one s self into an alien mode of 
thought. How superabundant must be the impulse of 
one s own thinking, if it does not grow weary in this long,< 
and wide field of history and in the end modestly content 
itself with the region of history. If the thinking of the 
possessor of a living language does not become alive, he 
may rightly be accused of not having thought at all and 
of having merely indulged in reverie. The possessor of 
a dead language, however, cannot in a similar case be 
similarly accused without hesitation ; it may be that 
he has " thought " after his own fashion, i.e., carefully 
developed the conceptions deposited in his language. 
Only he has not done that which, if he succeeded in 
doing it, would be accounted a miracle. 

Incidentally it is evident that the impulse to thinking, 
in the case of a people with a dead language, will be most 
powerful and produce the greatest apparent results in 
the beginning, when the language has not yet become 
clear enough to everyone. It is also evident that, as 
soon as the language becomes clearer and more definite, 
this impulse to thinking will tend more and more to die 
away in the chains of the language. It is further evident 
that in the end the philosophy of a people of this kind 
will consciously resign itself to the fact that it is only an 
explanation of the dictionary, or, as un-German spirits/ 
among us have expressed it in a more high-sounding ( 
fashion, a jnetacritic of language ; and, finally, that such 
a people will acknowledge some mediocre didactic poem 
in comedy form on the subject of hypocrisy to be its 
greatest philosophical work. 1 

1 [Fichte seems to refer here to Moliere s T artujfe .~\ 


62. In this way, I say, spiritual culture and here 
especially thinking in a primitive language is meant 
does not exert an influence on life ; it is itself the life 
of him who thinks in this fashion. Nevertheless it 
necessarily strives, from the life that thinks in this way, 
to influence other life outside it, and so to influence the 
life of all about it and to form this life in accordance with 

.itself. For, just because that kind of thinking is life, it 
lis felt by its possessor with inward pleasure in its vitalizing, 
(transfiguring, and liberating power. But everyone to 
whose inmost being happiness has been revealed is bound 
to wish that everyone else may experience the same bliss ; 
he is thus driven, and must work, to the end that the 
stream from 4 which he has drawn his own well-being may 
spread itself over others too. It is different with him who 
has merely apprehended the possibility of second-hand 
thinking. Just as its substance yields him neither weal nor 
woe, but merely occupies his leisure agreeably and enter 
tainingly, so it is impossible for him to believe that it can 
bring weal or woe to anyone else. In the end it is to 
him a matter of indifference on what subject anyone 
exercises his ingenuity or with what he occupies his 
hours of leisure. 

63. Of the means of introducing into the lives of all 
the thought that has begun in the life of the individual, 
the highest and best is oery ; hence this is the second 
main branch of the spiritual culture of a people. The 
thinker designates his thought in language, and this, as 
we have said above, cannot be done except by images 
of sense and, moreover, by an act of creation extending 
beyond the previous range of sensuous imagery. In 
doing this the thinker is himself a poet ; if he is not a 
poet, language will fail him when his first thought comes, 
and, when he attempts the second, thought itself will 


depart from him. An extension and amplification of 
the language s range of sensuous imagery having thus 
been begun by the thinker, to send it in flood through 
the whole field of sensuous images, so that every image 
may receive its appropriate share of the new spiritual 
ennoblement and so that the whole of life, down to its 
deepest depths of sense, may appear steeped in the new 
ray of light, may be well-pleasing, and may unwittingly 
give the illusion of ennobling itself to do this is the 
work of true poetry. Only a living language can have 
such poetry, for only in such a language can the range of 
sensuous imagery be extended by creative thought, and 
only in it does what has already been created remain 
alive and open to the influence of kindred life. Such a 
language has within itself the power of infinite poetry, 
ever refreshing and renewing its youth, for every stirring 
of living thought in it opens up a new vein of poetic 
enthusiasm. To such a language, therefore, poetry is 
the highest and best means of flooding the life of all with 
the spiritual culture that has been attained. It is quite 
impossible for a dead language to have poetry in this 
higher sense, for none of the conditions necessary to 
poetry exist in it. Such a language can have, how 
ever, though only for a limited period, a substitute 
for poetry in the following way. The_qutpourings of 
the art of poetry in the original language will attract 
attention. The new people, indeed, cannot go on 
making poetry in the path that has been begun, for this 
is foreign to its life, but it can introduce its own life and 
its new circumstances into the sphere of sensuous imagery 
and poetry in which the preceding age expressed its own 
life ; it can, for example, dress up its knights as heroes, 
and vice versa, and make the ancient gods exchange 
raiment with the new ones. It is precisely this placing 


of unfamiliar vesture upon the commonplace that gives 
it a charm akin to that produced by idealization, and the 
result will be quite pleasing figures. But the range of 
sensuous and poetical imagery in the original language 
on the one hand, and the new conditions of life on the 
other, are finite and limited quantities. At some point 
their mutual penetration is completed ; and when that 
point is reached the people celebrates its golden age and 
the source of its poetry runs dry. Somewhere or other 
there must be a highest point in the adaptation of fixed 
words to fixed ideas, and of fixed imagery to fixed con 
ditions of life. When this point has been reached this 
people must do one of two things. It can either repeat 
its most successful masterpieces in a different form, so 
that they look as if they were something new, although 
they are in fact nothing but the old familiar things. 
Or else, if it is determined to achieve something entirely 
new, it can seek refuge in the unbecoming and the 
unseemly. In this case their poetic art will mix together 
the ugly and the beautiful and have recourse to carica 
ture and humour, while their prose will be compelled to 
confuse ideas and to jumble virtue and vice together. 
This they must do if they seek new forms of expression. 

64. When mental culture and life thus go their own 
separate ways in a nation, the natural consequence is 
that those classes who have no access to mental culture, 
and who do not even receive the results of it as they 
would in a living nation, are placed at a disadvantage 
as compared with the educated classes and are regarded, 
so to speak, as a different species of humanity, unequal 
to them in mental power from the beginning and by 
the mere fact of birth. Another consequence is that 
the educated classes have no truly loving sympathy with 
them and are not impelled to give them thorough aid, 


for they believe that their original inequality makes 
them quite incapable of being aided. It follows also that 
the educated classes are tempted rather to make use of 
them as they are and to let them be so used. Although 
even this consequence of the death of the language can 
be mitigated in the first years of the new nation by a 
humanitarian religion and by the lack of special skill 
among the higher classes, yet, as time goes on, this 
despising of the people will become more and more 
unconcealed and cruel. That is why the educated 
classes assume superiority and give themselves airs ; and 
there is in addition a special reason closely connected 
with it which, as it has had a very extensive influence 
even on the Germans, must be mentioned here. It 
arises from the fact that in the beginning the Romans 
called themselves barbarians and their own language 
barbarous, as contrasted with the Greeks. In this they 
very ingenuously repeated what the Greeks had said 
about them. Afterwards the Romans handed on the 
description they had taken upon themselves, and found 
among the Teutons the same unquestioning simplicity 
as they themselves had shown towards the Greeks. 
The Teutons believed that the only possible way to get 
rid of barbarism was to become Romans. The immi 
grants to what was formerly Roman soil became as Roman 
as they possibly could. But in their imagination the 
term " barbarous " soon acquired the secondary meaning 
of " common, plebeian, and loutish," and in this way 
" Roman," on the contrary, became synonymous with 
" distinguished." This way of looking at it affected 
the Teutonic languages in general and in particular ; 
in general, since, when measures were taken deliberately 
and consciously to mould the language, they were directed 

towards throwing out the Teutonic roots and forming 



the words fromLatin roots, and thus creating the Romance 
language as the language of the court and of the educated 
classes. But the particular result is that, whenever two 
words have the same meaning, the one from a Teutonic 
root almost without exception denotes what is base and 
ignoble, and the one from the Latin root what is nobler 
and more distinguished. 

65. This endemic disease of the whole Teutonic race, 
as it might be called, attacks the German in the mother- 
country too, if he is not armed against it by a high 
earnestness. Even in our ears it is easy for Latin to sound 
distinguished, even to our eyes Roman customs appear 
nobler and everything German on the contrary vulgar ; 
and as we were not so fortunate as to acquire all this 
at first-hand, we take much pleasure in receiving it at 
second-hand through the medium of the neo-Latin 
nations. 1 So long as we are German we appear to our- 

1 [Fichte adds this note here : In our opinion the decision as to the 
greater or less euphony of a language should not be based upon the direct 
impression, which depends on so many matters of chance. Even a judg 
ment of this kind should be founded on definite principles. The merit of a 
language in this respect should undoubtedly be, first of all, that it exhausts 
and comprehensively presents the possibilities of the human organs of 
speech, and, secondly, that it combines the separate sounds in a natural and 
convenient unity. Hence it follows that nations who only half develop 
their organs of speech, and that in a one-sided fashion, who avoid certain 
soundsor combinations under the pretext of difficulty or cacophony, and who 
esteem euphonious only what they are accustomed to hear and can them 
selves pronounce such nations have no say in an investigation of this kind. 

This is not the place to deliver judgment according to those higher 
principles on the German language in this respect. Latin itself, the 
parent language, is pronounced by each neo-European nation in its own 
way, and it would not be easy to restore its true pronunciation. There 
remains, therefore, only this question, whether the German language 
when compared with neo-Latin languages sounds so bad, hard, and harsh 
as some are inclined to think. 

Until this question is thoroughly decided, we may meanwhile at least 
explain how it happens that it does seem so to foreigners, and to Germans 
too, even when they are unprejudiced and free from preferences or hate. 


selves men like any others ; when half or more than half 
our vocabulary is non-German, and when we adopt 
conspicuous customs and wear conspicuous clothes which 
seem to come from foreign parts, then we fancy ourselves 
distinguished. But the summit of our triumph is reached 
when we are no longer taken for Germans, but actually for 
Spaniards or Englishmen, whichever of the two happens to 
be the more fashionable at the moment. We are right. 
Naturalness on the German side, arbitrariness and 
artificiality on the foreign side, are the fundamental 
differences. If we keep to the former we are just like all 
our fellow-Germans, who understand us and accept 
us as their equals ; only when we seek refuge in the 
latter do we become incomprehensible to our fellows, 
who take us to be of a different nature. This unnatural- 
ness comes of itself into the life of foreign countries, 

because their life, deviated from nature originally ....and \ 

in a matter _of__the_first importance. But we Germans 
must first seek it out and accustom ourselves to the belief 
that -something is beautiful, proper, and convenient, 
which does not naturally appear so to us. The main 
reason for all this in the case of the German is his belief 
in the greater distinction of romanized countries, together 
with his craving to be just as distinguished and arti 
ficially to create in Germany too that gulf between the 

A people as yet uncultivated, with a very lively power of imagination, and at 
the same time childlike in mind and free from national vanity (the Teutons 
seem to have had all these qualities) is attracted by what is far away, and 
likes to make remote countries and distant islands the habitation for the 
objects of its desires and the glories of which it dreams. Such a people 
develops a sense of romance (the word explains itself and no more suitable 
one could be invented). Sounds and tones from those regions touch this 
sense and awaken its whole world of wonders ; hence they are pleasing. 

This may be the reason why our countrymen who emigrated gave up their 
own language for a foreign one so easily, and also why we, their kindred 
so very far removed, find even now such wondrous pleasure in these tones.] 


r upper classes and the people, which came about naturally 
/ in foreign countries. I shall content myself with having 
indicated the main source of this love of foreign ways 
which is to be found among Germans ; on another occa 
sion I shall show how widespread its effects have been, 
and how all the evils which have now brought us to ruin 
are of foreign origin. Of course it was only when united 
with German earnestness and influence on life that such 
evils were bound to bring destruction in their train. 

66. In addition to these two manifestations resulting 
* from the fundamental difference firstly, that mental 
/ culture either does or does not influence life, and, secondly, 
that between the educated classes and the people a dividing 
wall either does or does not exist I cited the following 
manifestation, that the people with a living language 
" will possess diligence and earnestness and take pains in 
all things, whereas the people with a dead language will 
rather look upon mental activity as an ingenious game, 
and will be easy-going and guided by its happy nature. 
This circumstance is a natural result of what has been 
said above. Among the people with a living language 
investigation proceeds from a vital need, which is thereby 
to be satisfied ; hence, investigation receives all the com 
pelling impulses which life has in itself. But among the 
people with a dead language investigation seeks nothing 
more than to pass away the time in a manner that is 
pleasant and in keeping with the sense of the beautiful, 
and it has attained its object completely when it has done 
this. With foreigners the latter course is almost inevitable, 
but when a German boasts about his genius and his happy 
nature he displays a love of foreign ways which is unworthy 
of him and which, like every imitation of foreign ways, 
arise^-frsm_j:he craving- te-~ be- distinguished. It is true 
that nothing excellent will be produced in any nation 


in the world without a primitive impulse in man which, 
as something supersensuous, is rightly called Genius, to 
give it the foreign name. But this impulse in itself only 
stimulates the power of imagination, and brings forth in 
it figures that hover above the ground but are never 
completely defined. To bring these down completed 
to the ground of actual life and to fix them firmly thereinJ 
this requires thought, diligent, deliberate, and in accord-/ 
ance with a definite principle. Genius delivers tG 
diligence the stuff to be worked upon, and the latter with 
out the former would have to work upon either what had 
been worked upon already or else upon nothing at all. 
But diligence brings this stuff, which without it would 
remain an empty game, into life ; and so it is only when 
united that the two can achieve anything ; divided they can 
do nothing. Moreover, in a people with a dead language 
no truly creative genius can express itself, because they 
lack the primitive power of designation ; they can only 
develop what has already been begun and convey it into 
the whole existing and completed system of designation. 

67. When we consider the question of taking greater j 
pains, it is natural that this can be done by the people I 
with the living language. A living language can stand 1 
on a higher level of culture in comparison with another, 
but it can never in itself attain that perfection of develop 
ment which a dead language quite easily attains. In 
the latter the connotation of words is fixed, and the 
possibilities of suitable combinations will also gradually 
become exhausted. Hence, he who wishes to speak this 
language must speak it just as it is ; but, after he has once 
learnt to do this, the language speaks itself in his mouth 
and thinks and imagines for him. But in a living lan 
guage, if _only life in it is really liv-ed^. the words and their 
meanings increase and change continually, and for that 


very reason new combinations become possible ; and the 
language, which never is, but eternally is becoming, does 
not speak itself, but he wrio wisHes to Use IF must speak 
it himself in his own fashion and creatively for his own 
needs. The latter undoubtedly demands far more 
^diligence and practice than the former. Similarly, the 
investigations of a people with a living language go down, 
as we have already said, to the root where ideas stream 
forth from spiritual nature itself ; whereas the investiga 
tions of a people with a dead language only seek to pene 
trate a foreign idea and to make themselves comprehen 
sible. Hence, the investigations of the latter are in fact 
only historical and expository, but those of the former 
are truly philosophical. It is quite plain, too, that 
an investigation of the latter kind may be completed 
sooner and more easily than one of the former. 

So we may say that genius in foreign lands will strew 
with flowers the well-trodden military roads of antiquity, 
and weave a becoming robe for that wisdom of life which 
it will easily take for philosophy. The German spirit, 
on the other hand, will open up new shafts and bring 
the light of day into their abysses, and hurl up rocky 
masses of thoughts, out of which ages to come will build 
their dwellings. The foreign genius will be a delightful 
sylph, which hovers in graceful flight above the flowers 
that have sprung of themselves from its soil, settles on 
them without causing them to bend, and drinks up their 
refreshing dew. Or we may call it a bee, which with 
busy art gathers the honey from the same flowers and 
deposits it with charming tidiness in cells of regular 
construction. B4^-4h^Gerrnan spirit is an eagle, whose 
mighty body thrusts itself orT high anxTsoars on strong 
and well-practised wing into the empyrean, that it may 
rise nearer to the sun whereon it delights to gaze. 


68. Now let us sum up in one main point of view all 
that has hitherto been said. In general, when we con 
sider the history of civilization in a race of men which 
is split up in history into an age of antiquity and a new 
world, we shall find on the whole that the function of 
these two main branches in the original development of 
this new world is as follows. That part of the vigorous 
nation which has gone abroad and adopted the language 
of antiquity thereby acquires a much closer relation 
ship to antiquity. At the beginning it will be far easier 
for this part of the nation to grasp the language of anti 
quity in its first and unchanged form, to penetrate the 
memorials of its culture, and to bring into them enough 
fresh life to enable them to be adapted to the new life 
that has arisen. In short, it is from them that the study 
of classical antiquity has taken its way over modern 
Europe. In its enthusiasm for the unsolved problems of 
antiquity it will continue to work at them, but, of course, 
only as one works at a problem that has been set, not by 
the needs of life, but by mere curiosity. It will take them 
lightly and not whole-heartedly, grasping them merely 
with the power of imagination, and solely in this medium 
giving them, as it were, an airy body. The very wealth 
of material bequeathed by antiquity, and the ease with 
which the work can be carried on in this fashion, will 
enable them to bring an abundance of such images into 
the field of vision of the modern world. Now, when 
these images of the ancient world in their new form 
reach that part of the original stock which, by its reten 
tion of the language, has remained in the stream of original 
culture, they will arouse the attention of the people and 
stimulate them to activity on their own part ; though, 
perhaps, these images, if they had remained in the old 
form, would have passed before them unheeded and 


unperceived. But as soon as they have really grasped 
them and not, as it were, merely passed them on from 
hand to hand, they will grasp them as their nature 
impels them to do, not merely as knowledge of a foreign 
life, but as an element of their own life. So they will 
not only derive them from the life of the new world, 
but also bring them into it again, incarnating the hitherto 
merely airy figures in solid bodies that will endure in 
real life. 

These figures, thus transformed in a way that would 
never have been possible to foreign countries, the latter 
now receive from them again. Through this channel 
alone is a development of the human race possible on the 
path of antiquity, a union of the two main portions, and 
a regular progress of human evolution. In this new order 
of things the mother-country will not actually invent 
anything ; but, in the smallest as in the greatest matters, 
it will always have to acknowledge that it has been 
stimulated by some hint from abroad. The foreign 
countries themselves were in their turn stimulated by 
the ancients, but the mother-country will take earnestly, 
and bring into life, what other countries have only super 
ficially and hastily sketched out. As we have already 
said, this is not the place to illustrate this relationship by 
striking and far-reaching examples. This we reserve for 
our next address. 

69. In this way both parts of the joint nation remained 
one, and only in this simultaneous separation and unity do 
they form a graft on the stem of the culture of antiquity, 
which otherwise would have been broken off by the new 
age, and so humanity would have begun again from the 
beginning. The two parts have these vocations laid 
upon them, different at the starting-point but coming 
together at the goal ; each part must recognize its own 


vocation and that of the other, and in accordance there 
with each part must make use of the other. It is especi 
ally necessary for each part to consent to assist the other 
and to leave its characteristic quality untouched, if good 
progress is to be made in the general and complete culture 
of the whole. The recognition of this ought to come 
first from the mother-country, which has been endowed 
in the first place with the sense of profundity. But if 
ever foreign countries, in their blindness to this relation 
ship, should be so far carried away by what appears on 
the surface as to attempt to deprive their mother-country 
of its independence and so to destroy and absorb it, 
they would thereby, if their attempt succeeded, sever for 
themselves the last vein connecting them with nature 
and with life, and fall defenceless into spiritual death, 
which indeed, apart from this, has been revealing itself 
to be their true nature more and more clearly as time 
has gone on. Then the hitherto continuous stream of 
the development of our race would be in fact at an end ; 
barbarism would be bound to begin again and to go on 
without hope of deliverance, until we were all living in 
caves again like wild beasts and, like them, devouring 
one another. That this is really so and must inevitably 
follow, only the German can see, of course, and only he 
! shall see it. To the foreigner, who, since he knows no 
; foreign culture, has unlimited scope to admire himself 
j in his own, it must and it may always appear preposterous 
blasphemy proceeding from ill-educated ignorance. 

Non-German countries are the earth, from which 
fruitful vapours detach themselves and arise to the clouds, 
and by which even now the old gods condemned to 
Tartarus keep in touch with the sphere of life. Th<l 
mother-country is the eternal sky enveloping the earth] 
the sky in which the light vapours are condensed to clouds 


which, impregnated by the lightning flash of the Thunderer 
from the other world, descend in the form of fertilizing 
rain, uniting sky and earth and causing the gifts whose 
home is in the sky to germinate in the lap of earth. 
Do new Titans once more want to take heaven by storm ? 
It will not be heaven for them, for they are earth-born, 
and the very sight and influence of heaven will be taken 
from them. Only their earth will remain to them, a cold, 
gloomy, and barren habitation. But, says a Roman poet, 
what could a Typhceus do, or the mighty Mimas, or 
Porphyrion with his threats, or Enceladus, the rash 
hurler of uprooted tree-trunks, if they flung themselves 
against the resounding shield of Pallas ? It is this very 
shield that will undoubtedly cover us too, if we under 
stand how to betake ourselves to its protection. 



70. IN our last address we stated what would be the 
chief differences between a people that has developed in 
its original language and a people that has adopted, a 
foreign one. We said at the time that, so far as foreign 
countries were concerned, we would leave it to each 
observer s own judgment to decide whether those mani 
festations had in fact occurred which, according to our 
assertions, were bound to occur. But with regard to the 
Germans we undertook to prove that they had in fact 
turned out to be what, according to our assertions, a 
people with a primitive language was bound to be. 
To-day we proceed to the fulfilment of our promise ; 
and we prove our assertions, first of all, by the latest 
great and, in a certain sense, completed achievement of 
the German people, an achievement of world-wide 
importance the reformation of the Church. 

71. Christianity, which originated in Asia, and in the 
days of its corruption became more Asiatic than ever, 
preaching only silent resignation and blind faith, was 
something strange and foreign even to the Romans. 
They never really laid hold of and assimilated it, and 
their nature was divided by it into two halves that did 
not fit each other ; nevertheless, the foreign part was 
joined on by means of their inherited and melancholy 



superstition. In the immigrant Teutons this religion 
found disciples who had no previous intellectual educa 
tion to hinder its acceptance, but also no hereditary 
superstition favourable to it. Hence, it was presented to 
them as one of the things that formed part of the equip 
ment of a Roman, which is what they wanted to become ; 
but it had no special influence on their life. These 
Christian educators would obviously not let their new 
converts know any more than suited their purpose 
about the ancient culture of Rome or its language, the 
key to its culture ; and here, too, we have a reason for the 
decay and death of the Latin language in their mouth. 
When later the untouched and genuine works of the old 
culture fell into the hands of these peoples, and when the 
impulse to think and understand for themselves was 
thereby stirred into action, then, partly because this 
impulse was new and fresh to them, and partly because 
they had no inherited terror of the gods to act as a 
counterpoise, the contradiction between blind faith and 
the strange things that in course of time had become its 
objects was bound to strike them far more sharply than it 
had struck the Romans themselves when Christianity first 
came to them. The perception of an utter contradic 
tion in what one has hitherto faithfully believed excites 
laughter. ^Those who had solved the riddle laughed and 
mocked ; and even the priests, who had also solved it, 
laughed with the rest ; they could do so in safety, because 
only very few people had access to the classical culture 
which broke the spell. Here I refer especially to Italy, 
the chief seat of neo-Latin culture at that time, the other 
neo-Latin races being still very far behind Italy in every 

They laughed at the deception, because there was no 
earnestness in them to turn bitter. Their exclusive 


possession of rare knowledge strengthened them in their 
position as a distinguished and educated class, and so they 
were quite willing that the great multitude, for whom 
they had no feeling, should remain under the sway of the 
deception and thus be more subservient to their purposes. 
This state of things a people deceived, and their betters 
making use of the deception and laughing at them might 
have continued ; and it would probably have continued 
until the end of time, if there had been none but neo- 
Latins in the modern world. 

Here you have a clear proof of what I said about the 
continuation of ancient culture by the new, and about 
the share the neo-Latins are able to have in it. The 
new light proceeded from the ancients and, falling 
first upon the central point of neo-Latin culture, was 
there developed into nothing more than an intellectual 
view of things, without taking hold of life and shaping 
it differently. 

72. But it was impossible for the existing state of 
things to continue once this light had fallen upon a soul 
whose religion was truly earnest and concerned about 
life, when this soul was surrounded by a people to whom 
it could easily impart its more earnest view, and when this 
people found leaders who cared about its urgent needs. 
However low Christianity may fall, there always remains 
in it an essential part which contains truth and which is 
sure to stimulate life, if only it is real and independent 
life. That part is the question : What shall we do to 
be saved ? When this question fell on barren soil, 
where either it remained undecided whether such a 
thing as salvation was really possible, or else, even if that 
was assumed, there was still no firm and decided will to 
be saved on such soil religion from the very beginning 
did not affect life and will, but remained suspended in 


the memory and the imagination like a faint and quivering 
shadow. So all further enlightenment concerning the 
condition of the existing religious ideas was similarly 
bound to remain without influence on life. But when, 
on the other hand, that question fell upon soil that by 
nature was living, where there was an earnest belief that 
salvation existed and a firm will to be saved, where the 
means of salvation prescribed by the existing religion 
h^d been employed to that intent with inward faith, 
honesty, and earnestness, and where, moreover, this 
very earnestness long kept from the light the quality of 
the prescribed means of salvation when, I say, the new 
light fell at last upon such a soil as this, the inevitable 
result was horror and loathing of this deception in the 
matter of the soul s salvation, and an unrest impelling 
them to secure salvation in another way. What appeared 
to be a rushing towards eternal ruin could not be treated 
as if it were a joke. Moreover, the individual who was 
first possessed by this view of the matter could not possibly 
be content with saving only his own soul, and remain 
indifferent to the welfare of all other immortal souls ; for, 
if he had, he would thereby have saved not even his 
own soul. Such was the teaching of his more profound 
religion. He was bound, on the contrary, to wrestle for 
all mankind with the same anxiety that he felt for his > 
own soul, so that the whole world might have its eyes 
opened to the damnable delusion. 

73. It was in this way that the light fell upon the soul 
of the German man, Luther. Long before him very many 
foreigners had seen the light and comprehended it more 
clearly with the intellect. In refinement, in classical 
culture, in learning, and in other things he was surpassed, 
not only by foreigners, but even by many of his own nation. 
He, however, was possessed by an all-powerful impulse. 


the anxiety about eternal salvation, and this became the 
life of his life, made him always throw his life into the 
scale, and gave him the power and the gifts which are 
the admiration of posterity. Others during the Reforma 
tion may have had earthly aims, but they would never 
have been victorious had there not been at their head a 
leader inspired by the eternal. That this man, who 
; always saw that the salvation of all immortal souls was at 
stake, fearlessly and in all earnestness went to meet all 
the devils in hell, is natural and in no way a wonder. 
Here we have a proof of German earnestness of soul. \! 

It was in the nature of things, as we "have said, that 
Luther should turn to all men with this question, which 
concerns all men and which each man must deal with for 
himself. First of all he turned to the whole of his own 
nation. How, then, did his people respond to this pro 
posal ? Did they remain in their dull placidity, chained to 
the,, ground by the cares of the world, and going on un- 
disfurbed in the accustomed path ? Or did this mighty 
enthusiasm, such as is not manifested every day, merely 
excitip them to laughter ? By no means ! They were 
seized by the same concern for the salvation of their souls ; 
like fire it spread among them ; and so their eyes, too, 
were q.uickly opened to the fullness of light, and they were 
quick Vo accept what was offered to them. Was this 
enthusiasm merely a momentary elevation of the imagina 
tion, una ble to hold its ground in daily life with its stern 
struggles ajid dangers ? By no means ! They renounced 
all, endure<4 all tortures, and fought in bloody and in 
decisive wars^ solely that they might not again come under 
the power of *the accursed Papacy, but that the light of 
the gospel, whurh alone can save, might shine upon them 
and upon their children s children. There were renewed 
among them, late in time, all the miracles that Chris- 


tianity showed forth among those who professed it when 
it began. All the utterances of that period are filled with 
this universal concern for salvation. Behold in this a 

\~proof of the characteristic quality of the German jpeople. 
By enthusiasm it can easily be raised to enthusiasm and 
clearness of any kind whatsoever, and its enthusiasm 

^endures for life and transforms life. 

74. In earlier times and in *ther places reformers had 
inspired masses of the people, and. gathered and formed 
them into communities. Yet these communities found 
no firm abiding-place on the foundation of the existing 
constitution, because the princes and rulers of the people 
did not come over to their side. At first no more favour 
able destiny seemed to await Luther s Reformation. 
The wise Elector, under whose eyes it began, seemed to 
be wise rather in the foreign than in the German sense. 
He did not appear to have any special grasp of the real 
question at issue, nor to attach much importance to what 
seemed to him a quarrel between two orders of monks ; 
at the most he was concerned merely about the good 
reputation of his newly-founded University. But he 
had successors who, though far less wise than he:, were 
seized by the same earnest care for their salvation as 
lived in their peoples, and by this likeness were- fused 
with them into one body for life or death, defeat or 

Behold in this an illustration of the above-mentioned 
characteristic of the Germans as a single body, and of 
their constitution as established by nature. < The great 
events of national or world importance h .ave hitherto 
been brought before the people by speakers who came 
forward voluntarily, and the people hane taken up the 
cause. Though their princes, from lo/ve of foreign ways 
and the craving for brilliance and distinction, might at 


first separate themselves, as those did, from the nation 
and abandon or betray it, they were afterwards easily 
swept into unanimity with the nation and took pity on 
their peoples. That the former has always been the case 
we shall prove more clearly hereafter by further illustra 
tions ; that the latter may always continue to be the 
case we can only wish with fervent yearning. 

75. One must confess that there was a darkness and 
unclearness in the anxiety of that generation about the 
salvation of souls, since it was a question, not merely of 
changing the external mediator between God and man, 
but of needing no external mediator at all and of finding 
the bond of connection in one s self. Nevertheless, it 
was perhaps necessary that the religious education of 
mankind should go through this intermediate state. 
Luther s own honest zeal gave him more than he sought, 
and carried him far beyond his own dogmatic system. 
Once he had successfully overcome the first inward con 
flicts, produced by his conscientious scruples when he 
boldly broke away from the whole existing faith, all his 
utterances are full of jubilation and triumph about the 
freedom won for the children of God, who assuredly 
no longer sought for salvation outside themselves and 
beyond the grave, but were themselves a manifestation 
of the immediate feeling of salvation. In this he became 
the pattern for all generations to come, and died for us all. 
Behold in this also a characteristic of the German spirit. 
If it but seeks, it finds more than it sought, for it comes 
into the stream of living life, which flows on of itself and 
carries the seeker on with it. 

76. To the Papacy, when taken and judged according 
to its own view of the matter, wrong was undoubtedly 
done by the way in which it was taken by the Reformation. 
Its utterances were for the most part picked at random 



from the existing language ; they exaggerated in Asiatic 
and rhetorical fashion and were intended to have what 
ever validity they could ; they reckoned on more than 
due deduction being made in any case, but were never 
seriously measured, weighed, or intended. The Reforma 
tion took them with German seriousness at their full 
weight ; it was right in thinking that everything should 
be taken thus, but wrong in thinking that the others had 
actually so taken it, and in blaming them for anything 
more than their natural superficiality and lack of thorough 
ness. In general, we may say that this is what always 
happens in every conflict of German seriousness with the 
foreign spirit, whether the latter is found in foreign or 
in German lands ; the foreign spirit is quite unable to 
comprehend how anyone can wish to raise such a great 
to-do about unimportant things like words and phrases. 
Foreigners, when they hear it again from German mouths, 
deny that they said what they did in fact say, and what 
they go on saying and always will say. So they complain 
of calumny, or pushing consistency too far, as they call 
it, when one takes their utterances in their literal sense 
and as seriously intended, and treats them as part of a 
logical sequence of thought, which one traces back to 
its principles and forward to its conclusions ; although 
one is perhaps very far from attributing to them in person 
a clear consciousness of what they say or any logical 
consistency. In the demand that one must take every 
thing as it is meant, but not go further and call in question 
the right to have opinions and to express them in that 
demand the foreign spirit always betrays itself, however 
deeply it may be concealed. 

77. The seriousness with which the old system of 
religious doctrine was now taken compelled this system 
itself to be more serious than it had been hitherto, 


and to undertake a new examination, interpretation, and 
consolidation of the old doctrine and practice for the 
future. Let this, and the example that is to follow, be 
to you an illustration of the way in which Germany has 
always reacted on the rest of Europe. The general 
result was that the old doctrine thus obtained, at any rate, 
such innocuous efficacy as was possible to it, once it had 
been resolved not to abandon it altogether. But in 
particular, to those who supported it, it became an oppor 
tunity for, and a challenge to, more thorough and consistent 
reflection than had been given to it before. The doc 
trine, thus reformed in Germany, spread into the neo- 
Latin countries and there produced the same result, viz., 
a loftier enthusiasm ; but, as this phenomenon was tran 
sitory, we shall say no more about it here. It is, how 
ever, noteworthy that in none of the entirely neo-Latin 
countries did the new doctrine obtain permanent recog 
nition by the State, for it seems that German thoroughness 
among the rulers and German good-nature among the 
people were needed, if this doctrine was to be found 
compatible and made compatible with the supreme 

78. In another respect, however, Germany exercised a 
general and permanent influence on other countries 
though, indeed, not on the common people, but on the 
educated classes by its reformation of the Church. 
By means of this influence Germany once more made 
other countries its forerunners and its instigators to 
new creations. Free and spontaneous thinking, or philo 
sophy, had frequently been stimulated and practised in 
the preceding centuries under the dominion of the old 
doctrine ; not, however, to bring forth truth out of 
itself, but solely to show that the doctrine of the Church 
was true and in what way it was true. Among the 


German Protestants, philosophy was at first given the 
same task in regard to their doctrine, and with them it 
became the handmaid of the gospel, just as with the 
Schoolmen it had been the handmaid of the Church. 
In foreign countries, which either had no gospel or else 
had not apprehended it with pure German devotion and 
depth of soul, this free-thinking, fanned into flame by the 
brilliant triumph it had achieved, rose higher and more 
easily, unfettered by a belief in the supersensuous. It 
remained fettered, however, by a belief of the senses in 
the natural understanding \Verstand~\ that develops 
without mental or moral training. Far from discovering 
in the reason [Fernunft\ the source of truth which rests 
upon itself, the utterances of this raw understanding 
were to this way of thinking exactly what the Church 
was for the Schoolmen and the gospel for the first Protes 
tant theologians. As to whether they were true, not the 
slightest doubt was raised ; the only question was how 
they could maintain this truth against hostile assertions. 

But, as this way of thinking did not even enter the 
domain of the reason, whose Opposition would have been 
more important, it found no opponent except the exist 
ing historical religion. This it easily disposed of by 
applying to it the measure of understanding or common 
sense, which was presupposed, and thereby proving to 
its own satisfaction that this religion was in direct con 
tradiction to the latter. Hence it came about that, 
as soon as all this was made quite plain, the word " philo 
sopher " became synonymous with " irreligious atheist " 
in foreign countries, and both designations served as 
equally honourable marks of distinction. 

79. This attempt at complete emancipation from all 
belief in external authority, which was the right thing 
about these struggles in foreign countries, acted as a fresh 


stimulus to the Germans, from whom it had first pro 
ceeded by means of the reformation of the Church. It 
is true that second-rate and unoriginal minds among us 
simply repeated this foreign doctrine better the foreign 
doctrine, it seems, than the doctrine of their fellow- 
countrymen, though this was to be had just as easily ; 
the reason being that they took the former to be more 
distinguished and these minds tried to convince them 
selves about it, so far as that was possible. But where 
the independent German spirit was astir, the sensuous 
was not enough, and there arose the problem of dis 
covering the supersensuous (which is, of course, not to be 
believed in on external authority) in the reason itself, I 
and thus of creating for the first time tru__ghilosophy I 
by makin_free_thought the sourcejofjndependent truth, 
as it should be. To that end Leibniz strove inTiis 
conflict with that foreign philosophy ; and the end was 
attained by the true founder of modern German philo 
sophy, 1 not without a confession of having been aroused 
to it by the utterance of a foreigner, which had, however, 
been taken more profoundly than it had been intended. 
Since that time the problem has been completely solved 
among us, and philosophy has been perfected. One must 
be content for the present with stating this as a fact, 
until an age comes which comprehends it. On this 
condition, the result once more would be the creation 
in the German mother-country, on the stimulus o^ 
antiquity which has come to it through neo-Latin lands,! 
of a new age such as never existed before. 

80. We, their contemporaries, have seen how the 
inhabitants of a foreign country 2 took up lightly, and 

1 [Kant, who confessed to having been roused from his " dogmatic 
slumber " by Hume.] 

2 [The reference is to the French Revolution.] 


with fervent daring, another problem of reason and philo 
sophy for the modern world the establishment of the 
perfect State. But, shortly afterwards, they abandoned 
this task so completely that they are compelled by their 
present condition to condemn the very thought of the 
problem as a crime, and they had to use every means to 
delete, if possible, those efforts from the annals of their 
history. The reason for this result is as clear as day ; 
the State in accordance with reason cannot be built up 
by artificial measures from whatever material may be 
at hand ; on the contrary, the nation must first be trained 

[< and educated up to it. Only the nation which has 
first solved in actual practice the problem of educating 

p perfect men will then solve also the problem of the 

u perfect State. 

Since our reformation of the Church, the last-men 
tioned problem of education has more than once been 
attempted by foreign countries in a spirited fashion, 
but in accordance with their own philosophy ; and among 
us a first result of their efforts has been to stimulate 
some to imitation and exaggeration. To what point the 
German spirit once more has finally brought this matter 
in our days we shall relate in more detail at the proper 

81. In what has been said you have a clear conspectus 
of the whole history of culture in the modern world, 
and of the never-varying relationship of the different 
parts of the modern world to the world of antiquity. 
True religion, in the form of Christianity, was the germ of 
the modern world ; and the task of the latter may be 
feummed up as follows : to make this religion permeate 
rthe previous culture of antiquity and thereby to spiritualize 
land hallow it. The first step on this path was to rid 
this religion of the external respect of form which robbed 


it of freedom, and to introduce into it also the free- 
thinking of antiquity. Foreign countries provided the 
stimulus to this step ; the German took the step. The 
second step, which is really the continuation and com 
pletion of the first, namely, to discover in our own selves 
this religion, and with it all wisdom this, too, was pre 
pared by foreign countries and completed by the German. 
The next step forward that we have to make in the plan \ 
of eternity is to educate the nation to perfect manhood. \ 
Without this, the philosophy that has been won will never 
be widely comprehended, much less will it be generally 
applicable in life. On the other hand, and in the same) 
way, the art of education will never attain complete! 
clearness in itself without philosophy. Hence, there is 
an interaction between the two, and either without the 
other is incomplete and unserviceable. If only because 
the German has hitherto brought to completion all the 
steps of culture and has been preserved in the modern 
world for that special purpose, it will be his work, too, in 
respect of education. But, when education has once been 
set in order, the same will follow easily with the other 
concerns of humanity. 

82. This, then, is the actual relationship in which the 
German nation has hitherto stood with regard to the 
development of the human race in the modern age. We 
have still to throw more light upon an observation, 
which has already been made twice, as to the natural 
course of development which events have taken with our 
nation, viz., that in Germany all culture has proceeded ^ 
from the people. That the reformation of the Church 
waTs ""first brought before the people, and that it succeeded 
only because it became their affair, we have already seen. 
But we have further to show that this single case was not 
an exception ; it has, on the contrary, been the rule. 


83* The Germans who remained in the motherland 
had retained all the virtues of which their country had 
formerly been the home loyalty, uprightness, honour, 
a"nd simplicity ; but of training to a higher and intellectual 
life they had received no more than could be brought by 
the Christianity of that period and its teachers to men 
whose dwellings were scattered. This was but little : 
hence, they were not so advanced as their racial kinsmen 
who had emigrated. They were in fact good and honest, 
it is true, but none the less semi-barbarians. There arose 
among them, however, cities erected by members of 
the people. In these cities every branch of culture 
quickly developed into the fairest bloom. In them arose 
civic constitutions and organizations which, though but 
on a small scale, were none the less of high excellence ; 
$nd, proceeding from them, a picture of order and a love 
m it spread throughout the rest of the country. Their 
extensive commerce helped to discover the world. 
Their league was feared by kings. The monuments of 
their architecture are standing at the present day and have 
defied the ravages of centuries; before them posterity 
stands in admiration and confesses its own impotence. 

84. It is not my intention to compare these burghers 
of the German imperial cities in the Middle Ages with the 
other estates of the same period, nor to ask what was being 
done at that time by the nobles and the princes. But, 
in comparison with the other Teutonic nations leaving 
out of account some districts of Italy, and in the fine arts 
the Germans did not lag behind even these, whereas in 
the ^ useful arts they surpassed them and became their 
teachers leaving these out of account, I say that the 
German burghers were the civilized people, and the 
others the barbarians>-iThe history of Germany, of 
German might, German enterprise and inventions, of 


German monuments and the German spirit the history 
of all these things during that period is nothing but the 
history of those cities ; and everything else, for example 
the mortgaging of petty territories and their subsequent 
redemption and so on, is unworthy of mention. More 
over, this period is the only one in German history in 
which this nation is famous and brilliant, and holds the 
rank to which, as the parent stock, it is entitled. As 
soon as its bloom is destroyed by the avarice and tyranny 
of princes, and as soon as its freedom is trodden under 
foot, the whole nation gradually sinks lower and lower, 
until the condition is reached in which we are at present. 
But, as Germany sinks, the rest of Europe is seen to sink 1 
with it, if we regard, not the mere external appearance, 
but the soul. ^ 

The decisive influence of this bu,rgh^^ which was 1 
in fact the ruling power, upon the development of the 
German imperial constitution, upon the reformation 
of the Church, and upon everything that ever character 
ized the German nation and thence took its way abroad, 
is everywhere unmistakable ; and it can be proved that 
everything which is still worthy of honour among the 
Germans has arisen in its midst. 

85. In what spirit did this German burgher class 
bring forth and enjoy this period of bloom ? In the 
spirit of piety, of honour, of modesty, and of the sense 
of community. For themselves they needed little ; 
for public enterprises they set no limits to their expen 
diture. Seldom does the name of an individual stand 
out or distinguish itself, for they were all of like mind 
and alike in sacrifice for the common weal. Under 
precisely the same external conditions as in Germany, 
free cities had arisen in Italy also. Compare the his 
tories of both ; contrast the continual disorders, the 


internal conflicts, nay, even wars, the constant change of 
constitutions and rulers in the latter with the peaceful 
unity and concord in the former. How could it be more 
clearly demonstrated that there must have been an 
inward difference in the dispositions of the two nations ? 
The German nation is the only one among the neo- 
European nations that has shown in practice, by the 
example of its burgher class for centuries, that it is capable 
of enduring a republican ^aastitution. >f . 

86. Of the separate and special means of once more 
raising the German spirit a very powerful one would be 
in our hands if we had a soul-stirring history of the 
Germans in that period one that would become a book 
for the nation and for the people, just as the Bible and 
the hymn-book are now, until the time came when we 
ourselves had again achieved something worthy of record. 
But such a history should not set forth deeds and events 
after the fashion of a chronicle ; it should transport us 
by its fascinating power, without any effort or clear con 
sciousness on our part, into the very midst of the life of 
that time, so that we ourselves should seem to be walking 
and standing and deciding and acting with them. This 
it should do, not by means of childish and trumpery 
fabrications, as so many historical novels have done, but 
by the truth ; and it should make those deeds and events 
visible manifestations of the life of that time. Such a 
work, indeed, could only be the fruit of extensive know 
ledge and of investigations that have, perhaps, never yet 
been made ; but the author should spare us the exhibi 
tion of this knowledge and these investigations, and simply 
lay the ripened fruit before us in the language of the 
present day and in a manner that every German without 
exception could understand. In addition to this historical 
knowledge, such a work would demand a high degree of 


philosophical spirit, which should display itself just as 
little, and above all things a faithful and loving disposition. 
87. That age was the nation s youthful dream, within 
a narrow sphere, of its future deeds and conflicts and 
victories, and the prophecy of what it would be once 
it had perfected its strength. Evil associations and the 
seductive power of vanity have swept the growing nation 
into spheres which are not its own ; and, because it there 
sought glory too, it stands to-day covered with shame 
and fighting for its very life. But has it indeed grown 
old and feeble ? Has not the well of original life con 
tinued to flow for it, as for no other nation, since then 
and until to-day ? Can those prophecies of its youthful 
life, which are confirmed by the condition of other 
nations and by the plan of civilization for all humanity-f 
can they remain unfulfilled ? Impossible ! O, tbt. 
someone would bring back this nation from its false path, 
and in the mirror of its youthful dreams show it its true 
disposition and its true vocation ! There let it stand 
and ponder, until it develops the power to take up its 
vocation with a mighty hand. May this challenge be 
of some avail in bringing out right soon a German nan 
equipped to perform this preliminary task ! 



88. IN the preceding addresses we have indicated and 
proved from history the characteristics of the Germans 
J is an original people, and as a people that has the right 
tb call itself simply the people, in contrast to other 
^anches that have been torn away from it ; for, indeed, 
Je word " deutsch " in its real signification denotes we have just said. It will be in accordance with 
our purpose if we devote another hour to this subject 
and deal with a possible objection, viz., that if this is 
something peculiarly German one must confess that at 
.the present time there is butjdttlej^ftjhat is German 
among the Germans themselves. As we are quite 
unable to deny that this appears to be so, but rather 
intend to acknowledge it and to take a complete view of 
it in its separate parts, we propose to give an explana 
tion of it at the outset. 

89. We have seen that the relationship in which the 
original people of the modern world stood to the progress 
of modern culture was as follows : the former received 
from the incomplete, and never more than superficial, 
efforts of foreign countries the first stimulus to more 
profound creative acts, which were to be developed from 
its own midst. As it undoubtedly takes time for the 



stimulus to result in a creative act, it is plain that such 
a relationship will bring about periods of time in which 
the original people must seem to be almost entirely 
amalgamated with foreign peoples and similar to them, 
because it is then being stimulated only, and the creative 
act which is to be the result has not yet forced its way 
through. It is in such a period of tirnejthat Qermany ( 
finds itself ajyie_rSnt-^^ in regard to trie great \ 

majority of its educated inhabitants ; and that is the^ 
reason for those manifestations of a love of everything 
foreign which are a part of the very inner soul and life 
of this majority. , In the preceding address we saw that 
the means by which foreign countries stimulate their 
motherland at the present time is philosophy, which we I f 
define d as free-thinking released from all fetters of belief I A 
in external authority. Now, when this stimulus has not 
resulted in a new creative act and it will result thus in 
extremely few cases, for the great majority have no con 
ception of what creation means the following effects are 
observable. For one thing, that foreign philosophy 
which we have already described changes its own form 
again and again. Another thing is that its spirit usurps 
the mastery over the other sciences whose borders are 
contiguous with philosophy, and regards them from its 
own ^oint of view. Finally, since the German after all 
can never entirely lay aside his seriousness and its direct 
influence on life, this philosophy influences the habits 
of public life and the principles and rules that govern it. 
We shall substantiate these assertions step by step. 

90. First of all and before all things : man does not 
form his scientific view in a particular way voluntarily 
and arbitrarily, is^-Qr^edJqr him by his life, and 
is in reality the inner, and to him unknown, root oL his 
ownjife, wEich has become his way of looking at _tlimgs7 


It is what you really are in your inmost soul that stands 
forth to your outward eye, and you would never be able 
to see anything else. If ypjii_aj^-4ux_se^.difFerently, you 
must first of all becomejiiflfirent. Now, the inner essence 
of non r German ways, or of non-originaliffi t is the belief 
in something that is__final, fixed, and settled beyond the 
possibility of change, the belief in a border-line, on the 
hither side of which free life may disport itself, but which 
it is never able to break through and dissolve by its own 
power, and which it can never make part of itself. This 
impenetrable border-line is, therefore, inevitably present 
to the eyes of foreigners at some place or other, and it is 
impossible for them to think or believe except with such 
a border-line as a presupposition, unless their whole 
nature is to be transformed and their heart torn out of 
their body. Thgy ine_vitably_believe in jeath as Alpha and 
Omega, the ultimate source of all things and, therefore, 
of life itself. 

91. Our first task here is to show how this fundamental 
belief of foreigners expresses itself among Germans at 
the present time. 

It expresses itself first of all in their own philosophy. 
German philosophy of the present day, in so far as it is 
worthy of mention here, strives for thoroughness and 
scientific form, regardless of the fact that those things 
are beyond its reach ; it strives for unity, and that also 
not without the example of foreign countries in former 
times ; it strives for reality and essence not for mere 
appearance, but to find for this appearance a foundation 
appearing in appearance. In all these points it is right, 
and far surpasses the philosophies prevailing in foreign 
countries at the present day ; for German philosophy in 
its love of everything foreign is far more thorough and 
_more consistent than the foreign countries themselves. 


Now this foundation, which is to be the basis of mere 
appearance, is for those philosophies, however much more 
incorrectly they may fur trier define it, alwaj^s 

which is just what it is and nothing more, chained in 
itself aftd-baunji_jQj^ De^th, therefore, 

and alienation from originality, winch are within them, 
stand forth before their eyes as well. Because they them 
selves are unable by any effort to rise out of themselves 
to life as such, but always need a prop and a support for 
their free upward flight, they do not get beyond this 
support in their thinking, which is the image of their life, 
That which is not Something is to them inevitably s 
Notfiing, "for their eyes see nothing else" ..... ^between that / 
Being in which growth has ceased and the Nothing, J 
because their life has nothing else. Their feeling, 
which is their sole possible authority, seems to them 
infallible. If anyone does not acknowledge this support 
of theirs, they are far from assuming that to him life 
alone is enough ; on the contrary, they believe that he 
merely lacks the cleverness to perceive the support, 
which they have no doubt supports him too, and the 
capacity to raise himself by his exertions to their high 
point of view. It is, therefore, futile and impossible to 
instruct them ; one would have to construct them, and 
to construct them differently, if one could. Now, in j 
this matter German philosophy of the present day is j 
not German, but a product of the foreign spirit. 

92. True philosophy, on the other hand, which has 
been perfected in itself and has penetrated beyond I 
appearance to the very kernel of appearance, proceeds [ 
from the one,jpure, divine life life simply as such, which 
it remains for all eternity, and always one but not from 
this or that kind of life. It sees how it is only irTappear- 
ance that this life ceaselessly closes and opens again, 


nd how it is only in accordance with this law that life 
attains Being and becomes a Something. In the view of 
/this philosophy, Being arises, whereas the other presup- 
|oses_Jt. So, then, this philosophy is in a very special 
sense German only that is, original. Vice versa, if 
anyone were but a true German, he could not philoso 
phize in any way but this. 

93. That system of thought, although it dominates the 
/ majority of those who philosophize in German, is never- 

theless not really a German system. Yet, whether it is 
consciously set up as a true system of philosophical doctrine, 
or whether, unknown to us, it is merely the basis for the 
rest of our thinking, it influences the other scientific 
, views of the age. Indeed, jt is a main effort of our age, 
stimulated by foreign countries as we are, not merely 
to lay hold of the material of science with the memory, as 
our forefathers may be said to have done, but to turn it 
over_in ou^ own_indeenden^ thought and to philosophize 
uj)on_it. So farjas the effort is concerned, our age is in 
the ..right ; but. when, iiLthe execution of this.^hilosophiz- 
ing, it proceeds, as is to be expected, from the death- 
creed .of foreign philosophy, it will be in the wrong. 
In this place we propose to glance only at those sciences 
which are most closely connected with our whole plan, 
and to trace the foreign ideas and views which are so 
widespread in them. 

94. In holding that the establishment and government of 
States should be looked upon as an indepejadeiit art having 
its_own fixed rules, non-German countries have undoubt 
edly .sermdjujs^sJiQrerunners, and they themselves found 
their pattern in antiquity. But what will be regarded 
as tfye art of-fehe-State bjf_such a non^Geiman country, 
which in its language, the very element of its thinking 
and willing, has a support that is fixed, closed, and dead ? 


What, too, will all who follow its example regard as the 
art of the State ? Undoubtedly it will be the art of finding v7 
a similarly fixed and dead order of things, from which \\ 
condition of death the living movement of society is ta 
proceed, and to proceed as this art intends. This inten-7 / 
tion is to make the whole of life in society into a large I / 
and ingeniously constructed clockwork, pressure-machine, \ />. 
in which every single part will be continually compelled X 
by the wffoIe~To~~serYe-^^ The -intention is to/J 

do a sum in arithmetic with finite and given quantities, 
and produce from them an ascertainable result ; and thus, 
on the assumption that everyone seeks his own well-being,*^ 
to compel everyone against his wish and will to promote j 
the general well-being. Non-German countries have re- " 
peatedly enunciated this principle and produced ingenious 
specimens of this art of social machinery. The mother- \ 
land has adopted the theory, and developed its application 
in the construction of social machines ; and here, too, as 
always, in a manner that is deeper, truer, more thorough 
going, and much. .superior to its models. If at any time 
there is a stoppage in the accustomed process of society, 
such artists of the State can give no other explanation 
than that perhaps one of the wheels has become worn 
out, and they know no other remedy than to remove 
the defective wheels and insert new ones. The more 
deeply rooted anyone is in this mechanical view of 
society, and the better he understands how to simplify 
the mechanism by making all the parts of the machine as 
alike as possible and by treating them all as if they were 
of the same material, the higher is his reputation as an 
artist of the State in this age of ours : and rightly so, for 
things are even worse when those in control hesitate and 
come to no decision and are incapable of any definite 



; 95. This view of the art of the State enforces respect 
by its iron consistency and by an appearance of sublimity 
which falls upon it ; and up to a certain point, especially 
when the whole tendency is towards a monarchical con 
stitution, and one that is always becoming more purely 
monarchical, it renders good service. But^ when it 
reaches that point, its_impotence is apparent to everyone. 
I will suppose that you have made your machine as perfect 
as you intended, and that each and every lower part of 
it is unceasingly and irresistibly compelled by a higher 
part, which is itself compelled to compel, and so on up to 
the top. But how will your final J>art, from which 
proceeds the whole compelling power present in the 
machine, be itself compelled to__coinjgel ? Suppose you 
have overcome absolutely all the resistance to the main 
spring that might arise from the friction of the various 
parts, and suppose you have given that mainspring a 
power against which all other power vanishes to nothing, 
which is all you could do even by mechanism, and suppose 
you have thus created a supremely powerful monarchical 
constitution ; how are you going to set this mainspring 
itself in motion and compel it without exception to see 

it ? Tell me how you are going 

to bring perpetual motion into your clockwork, which, 
though properly designed and constructed, does not go. 
Is, perhaps, as you sometimes say in your embarrassment, 
the whole machine itself to react ancl to set its own main- 
^pring in motion ? Either this happens by a power that 
itself proceeds from the stimulus of the mainspring ; or 
/else it happens by a power that does not proceed thence, 
but is to be found in the whole thing independent of 
the mainspring. No third way is possible. If you 
suppose the first, you find yourselves reasoning in a circle, 
and your principles of mechanics are in a .circle too ; the 


whole machine can compel the mainspring only in so 
far as the machine itself is compelled by the mainspring 
to compel it that is to say, in so far as the mainspring 
only indirectly compels itself. But if it does not compel 
itself, and this is the defect we set out to remedy, no 
motion whatever results. If you suppose the second case, 
you confess that the source of all motion in your machine 
is a power that has not entered at all into your calcula 
tions and regulations, and is not in any way controlled by 
your mechanism. This power undoubtedly works as it 
can without your aid and according to its own laws, 
which are unknown to you. In each of the two cases, 
you must confess yourselves botchers and impotent 

96. Now, people-have felt .this, and so they have wished,^ 
under this system which, in its reliance upon compulsion, j 
need not-concern itself about the other citizens, to educate \ 
Sit any rate the prince by every kind of good doctrine and ) 
instruction ; for from the prince the whole movement , 
of societyj^iooeeds. But how can one be sure of finding 
someone who by nature is capable of receiving the educa 
tion that~U to make a prince ? Even if by a stroke of 
luck he were to be found, how can one be sure that he, 
whom no man can compel, will be ready and willing to 
submit to discipline ? Such a view of the art of the 
State, whether it is found on ibreigrTor German soil, is 
always a product of the foreign spirit. Here we may 
remark^tq the ho^nourjof the German race and the German 
spirit, that, however good artists we might be in the mere 
theory of these calculations which are based on compul 
sion, none the less, when it came to putting them into 
practice, we were very much hampered by the dim 
feeling that things_ should not be done in this way ; and N 
so in this matter \ve remained behind foreign countries. ) 


Therefore, even should we be compelled to accept the 
boon of foreign forms and laws intended for us, at least 
let us not be unduly ashamed, as if our intelligence had 
been incapable of attaining these heights of legislation. 
As we are not inferior to any nation even in legislating, 
when we only have the pen in our hands, it may well be 
that we felt with regard to life that even the making of 
such laws was not the right thing ; and so we preferred 
to let the old system stand until the perfect system 
should come to us, instead of merely exchanging the old 
fashion for a new one just as transitory. 

97. Altogether different is the genuine German art 
of the State. It, too, seeks fixity, surety, and independence 
of blind and halting nature, and in this it is quite in agree- 
j ment with foreign countries. But, unlike these, it does 
i not seek a fixed and certain thing, as the first element, 
j which will make the spirit, as the second element, certain ; 
on the contrary, it seeks from the very beginning, and as 
the very first and only element, a firm and certain 
spirit. This is for it the mainspring, whose life 
i proceeds from itself, and which has perpetual motion ; 
\ the mainspring which will regulate, and continually 
^tkeep in motion, the life of society. The German art of 
*-Uthe State understands that it cannot create this spirit 
] jby reprimanding adults who are already spoilt by neglect, 
i but only by educating the young, who are still unspoilt.y 
Moreover, with this education it will not turn, as foreign 
countries do, to the solitary peak, the prince, but to the 
broad plain which is the nation ; for indeed the prince, 
too, will without doubt be part of the nation. Just as 
| the State, in the persons of its adult citizens, is the con- 
[ tinued education of the human race, so must the future 
citizen himself, in the opinion of this art of the State, 
Vfirst be educated up to the point of being susceptible to 


that higher education. So this German and very modern 
art of the State becomes once more the very ancient 
art of the State, whicja^amcaigv^ 

citizenship on education and trained such citizens as 
succeeding ages have never seen. Henceforth the German 
will do what is in form the same, though in content it 
will be characterized by a spirit that is not narrow and; 
exclusive, but universal and cosmopolitan. 

98. That foreign__spirit to which we have referred 
prevails among the great majority of our people in another 
matter, ~viz7r~their view of the whole life of a human 
race and of history as the picture of that life. A nation 
whose Lmguage has^a^dead and completed foundation 
can only advance, as we showed on a previous occasion, 
to a certainjrtage of development in all the departments of 
rhetoric. That stage depends on the foundation of the 
language, and the nation will experience a golden age. 
Unless such a nation is extremely modest and self-depreci- 
ative, it cannot fittingly think more highly of the whole 
race than it does of itself, from its own knowledge ; 
hence, it must assume that there will be a final, highest, 
and for ever unsurpassable goal for all human develop 
ment. Just as those animal species, the beavers and the 
bees, still build in the way they built thousands of years 
ago, and have made no progress in the art during that long 
period of time, so it will be, according to that nation, 
with the animal species called man in all branches of 
his development. These branches, impulses, and capaci 
ties it will be possible to survey exhaustively, and indeed 
to see on examining a few members ; and then it will be 
possible to indicate the highest development of each one 
of them. Perhaps the human species will be far worse 
off than the bee or beaver species ; for, though the latter 
learn nothing new, they nevertheless do not deteriorate 


in their art, whereas man, when he has once reached the 
summit, is hurled back again, and may struggle for 
hundreds or thousands of years to regain the point at 
which it would have been better to leave him undis 
turbed. The human species, so these people think, will 
undoubtedly have attained such culminating points in 
education in the past, and enjoyed more than one golden 
age ; to discover these points in history, to judge all 
the efforts of humanity by them, and to lead humanity 
back to them, will be their most strenuous endeavour. 
^ ; According to them, history was finished long ago and has 
/ been finished several times already. According to them, 
there is nothing new under the sun, for they have destroyed 
- the source of eternal life under and over the sun, and only 
let eternally-recurring death repeat itself and subside 
time after time. 

99. It is_well known that this philosophy of history has 

come to us from "foreign, countries, although it is dying 

away even there at the present day and has become 

almost exclusively German property. From this closer 

rkinship it follows also that this philosophy of history, which 

/ we call ours, is able to understand the efforts of foreign 

( countries through and through ; and, although this 

view of history is no longer expressed very often in 

those countries, they go beyond expression, for they are 

acting in accordance with it and constructing once more 

a golden age. This philosophy is even able to prophesy, 

^nd to point out to them the path they have still to take ; 

jit can pay them the tribute of genuine admiration, 

Which one who thinks as a German cannot pretend to do. 

jlndeed, how could he ? Golden ages are to him in every 

respect a limitation proceeding from a state of death. 

Gold may indeed be the most precious metal in the lap 

of dead earth, he thinks, but the stuff of the living spirit 


is beyond the sun and beyond all suns, and is their source. ^ 
For him history, and with it the human race, does not I 
unfold itself according to some mysterious hidden law, I 
like a round dance ; on the contrary, in his opinion a ff 
true and proper man himself makes history, not merely | 
repeating what has existed already, but throughout all H 
time creating what is entirely new. Hence, he never J 
expects mere repetition, and even if it should happen 
word for word as the old book says, at any rate he does not 
admire it. 

100. Now, the deadly foreign spirit, without our being I 
clearly aware of it, spreads itself in a similar way over the,/ 
rest of our scientific views, of which it may suffice to 
have adduced the examples quoted. This happens 
because at the present day we are working in our own 
fashion upon stimuli previously received from abroad, 
and are passing through that intermediate state. Because 
it was pertinent to the matter in hand, I adduced those 
examples ; and partly, too, so that no one should think 
himself able to refute the statements here made by de 
ductions from the principles which we have quoted. .It 
is not the case that those principles would have remained 
unknown to us, or that we could not ourselves have risen 
to their high level ; far from it. On the contrary, we 
know them quite well, and might perhaps, if we had time 
to spare, be capable of developing them backwards and 
forwards in their complete logical sequence. Only we 
reject them right from the very beginning and also all 
their consequences, of which there are more in our tradi 
tional way of thinking than the superficial observer may 
find it easy to believe. 

This foreign spirit influences not only our scientific:^ 
view of things, but also, and in the same way, our ordinary , 
life and the rules that govern it. But, in order to make/ 


this clear, and to make what has been said still clearer, it is 
necessary first of all to scrutinize more keenly the essence 
of original life^ or freedom. 

101. Freedom, taken in the sense of indecisive hesita 
tion between several courses equally possible, is not life, 
but only the forecourt and portal to real life. At some 
time or other there must be an end of this hesitation 
and an advance to decision and action ; and only then 
does life begin. 

Now, at first sight, and when viewed directly, every 
decision of the will appears as something primary, and in 
no wise as something secondary, or as the effect of a primary 
thing which is its cause. It appears to be something 
existing simply by itself, and existing just as it is. This 
f meaning we wish to establish as the sole possible sensible 
I meaning of the word freedom. But, with regard to the 
inner content of such a decision of the will, there are 
two cases possible, viz., on the one hand, there appears 
in it only appearance, separated from essence and without 
essence entering into its appearance in any way ; on the 
other hand, essence enters in appearance into this appear 
ance of a decision of the will. In this connection it 
jmust be remarked at once that essence can become 
apparent only in a decision of the will, and in nothing 
else whatever, although, on the other hand, there may be 
decisions of the will in which essence does not manifest 
itself at all, but only mere appearance. We proceed to 
discuss the latter case first. 

1 02. By its separation from, and its opposition to, 
essence, as well as by the fact that it is itself capable of 
appearing and presenting itself, mere appearance simply 
as such is unaljeFafcljL^deler mined, and it is, therefore, 
inevitably just what it is and turns out to be. Hence, 
if any given decision of the will is, as we assume, in its 


content mere appearance, it is to that extent, not in fact 
free, primary, and original, but it is a result of necessity, 
and is a secondary element proceeding just as it is from 
a higher primary element, viz., the general law of appear 
ance. Now, the thinking of man, as we have mentioned 
several times already, represents man to himself just as 
he actually is, and always remains the true copy and mirror 
of his inner being. For this reason, although such a 
decision of the will appears at first sight to be free, just 
because it is called a decision of the will, yet it cannot 
appear so at all to deeper and prolonged thinking ; on 
the contrary, the latter must think that it is a result of 
necessity, which, of course, it actually is in fact. For 
those people, whose will has never yet raised itself to a 
higher sphere than the one in which it is held that a 
will merely appears in them, the belief in freedom is, of 
course, a delusion and a deception, proceeding from a 
view that is casual and does not go beneath the surface. 
For them there is truth only in thought thought that 
shows them everywhere only the chain of strict necessity. 
103. The first and fundamental law of appearance, 
simply as such, (we are entitled to refrain from stating the 
reason, all the more so because it has been sufficiently 
given elsewhere) is this : that it falls into a manifoldness, 
which, in a certain respect, is an endless whole and, in a 
certain other respect, a whole complete in itself. In 
this completed whole of manifoldness every single part 
is determined by all the rest, and, again, all the rest are 
determined by this single part. Hence, if in the decision 
of the will of the individual there emerges into appearance 
nothing but the possibility of appearance and of repre 
sentation, and visibility in general, which is in fact the 
visibility of nothing, then the content of such a decision 
of the will is determined by the completed whole of all 


the possible will-decisions of this will and of all the other 
possible individual wills ; and it. contains, and can con 
tain, nothing more than that which remains to be willed 
after all those possible decisions of the will have been 
| abstracted. Hence, there is in fact nothing independent, 
I original, and individual in it ; on the contrary, it is merely 
.secondary, the consequence of the general connection of 
[the sum of appearance in its separate parts. Indeed, it 
has always been recognized as such by all who, though 
on this level of culture, were capable of profound thought, 
and their recognition of it has been expressed in the same 
words as those of which we have just made use. But all 
I this is the result of the fact that in them not essence, but 
J merely appearance, enters into appearaHceC" 

104. On the other hand, where essence_ rtself enters 
into the appearance of a decision of the. will directly and, 
so to speak, in its own person and not by any representa 
tive, then all that has been mentioned above is likewise 
present, following as it does from appearance as a com- 
pleted whole, for appearance appears here also. But an 
appearance of this kind does not consist merely of this sum 
of its component parts a nor is it exhausted ky-that sum ; 
on the contrary, there is in it something more, another 
component part which is not to be explained by that 
connection, but remains over after what is explicable has 
been abstracted. That first component part is present 
here too, I said; that something more becomes visible, 
and, by means of this visibility, but not at all by means, of 
its inner essence, it comes under the general law~and the 
conditions of visibleness. But it is still more than this , 
something, which proceeds from some law or other and 
which, therefore, is a secondary thing and the result of 
necessity ; and, in respect of this more, it is of itself what 
it is, a truly primary, original, and free thing. Since it 


is this, it also appears thus to that thought which is deepest 
and which has found completion in itself. The highest 
law of visibleness is, as we have said, this : that the thing) 
appearing splits itself into an infinite manifoldness. This l 
6 more becomes visible, on every occasion, as more than 
what proceeds at any particular moment from the sum total 
of appearance, and so on into infinity ; hence, this more 
itself appears infinite. But it is as clear as noonday that 
it acquires this infinity only because it is on each occasion 
visible and thinkable, and that it is to be discovered only by 
its contrast to what follows eternally from the sum total, 
and by its being more than this. But, apart from this 
ned of thinking it, it exists, this more than everything 
infinite, which has the power of presenting itself eternally ; 
this more, I say, exists in pure simplicity and invariability 
from the very beginning, and in all infinity it does not 
become more than this more, nor does it become less. 
Nothing but its visibleness as more than the infinite 
and in no other way can it become visible in its highest 
purity creates the infinite and all that appears to appear 
in it. Now, where this more actually enters as such a 
visible more but it can only enter in an act of will- 
there essence itself, which alone exists and alone can exist, 
and which exists of itself and by itself, divine essence enters 
into appearance a-fteLmakes itself directly visible ; and ini 
that place there exists, for that very reason, true originality 
and freedom, and so there is also a belief in them. 

105. So, to tl^g general question whether man is free 
or not, there is no generaTanswer"7~foT7 "juTrtecauselhan 
is free" in the lower sense, because he begins in indecisive 
vacillation and hesitation, he may be free, or he may not 
be free, in the higher sense of the word. In reality, the 
way in which anyone answers this question is the clear 
mirror of his true inward being. He who is in fact no 


more than a link in the chain of appearances may, perhaps, 
for a moment be under the delusion that he is free ; but 
this delusion cannot hold its ground when he thinks more 
strictly. Of necessity he thinks that all his fellows are 
in the condition in which he finds himself. On the other 
hand, he, whose life is p^ggs se dby the truth and has 
becom^Jife direct fi^m__Go3^TIIfree__and _ believes in 
freedom in himsel_nd^Dthers^_ 

1 66. He "whcTbelieves in a fixed, rigid, and dead state 
of being believes in it only because he is dead in himself ; 
and, once he is dead, he cannot do anything but believe 
thus, so soon as ever he becomes clear in himself. He 
himself, with all his kind from beginning to end, becomes 

something secondary and a necessary consequence of 
some presupposed primary element. This presupposition 
is his actual thinking, and by no means a merely fancied 
thinking ; it is his true mind, the point at which his 
thinking is itself directly life. Thus it is the source of 
all the rest of his thinking, and of his judgment of his 
kind in its past, which is history, in its future, which is 
his expectations for it, and in its present, which is actual 
life in himself and others. 

This belief in death, as contrasted with an original and 
living people, we have called-the foreign When 
once this foreign spirit is present among Germans it will, 
therefore, reveal itself in their actual life also, as quiet 
resignation to what they deem the unalterable necessity 
of their existence, as the abandonment of all hope of 
improvement of ourselves or others by means of freedom, 

1 as a disposition to make use of themselves and everyone 
else just as they are, and to derive from their existence 
the greatest possible advantage for ourselves ; in short, it 
will reveal itself as the confession, eternally reflecting itself 
in every stirring of life, of a belief in the universal and 


equal sinfulness of all. This belief I have sufficiently 
described in another place ; 1 I leave you to read this 
description for yourselves and to decide how far it fits 
the present time. This way of thinking and acting 
arises from the state of inward death, as has often been 
mentioned, only when that state becomes clear about 
itself. On the other hand, so long as that^stateremains 
in darknesSjjtj^l^ in free^m^_whicri belief 

is in ijtself true, and is only aUelusion when it is applied 
to existence in such a state of mind. Here we see clearly 
and distinctly the disadvantage of clearness when the 
soul is base. So long as this baseness remains in darkness, 
it is continually disquieted, goaded, and impelled by the 
unceasing claim to freedom, and it presents a point of 
attack to the attempts to improve it. But clearness com 
pletes it and rounds it off in itself ; clearness imparts to 
this base state of mind a cheerful resignation, the calm 
of a good conscience, and self-satisfaction. As their^ 
belief is, so is the result ; from now onwards they are in j 
fact incapable of improvement ; at the most they serve 
to keep alive among their betters a pitiless loathing of 
evil or a resignation to the will of God ; but, apart from 
that, they are not of the least use in the world. 

107. So, let there appear before you at last in complete 
clearness what we havejneant by Germans, as we have 
so far described them. The true criterion is this : do 
you believe in something absolutely primary and original 
in man himself, in freedom, in endless improvement, in 
the eternal progress of our race, or do you not believe in 
all this, but ratEer imagine that you clearly perceive and 
comprehend that the opposite of all this takes place ? 
All who either are themselves alive and creative and 

1 [Fichte adds this note here : see the Guide to the Blessed Life, 
Lecture II.] 


productive of new things, or who, should this not have 
| fallen to their lot, at any rate definitely abandon the things 
of ^ naught and stand on the watch for the stream of 
original life to lay hold of them somewhere, or who, 
should they not even be so far advanced as this, at least 
(have an inkling of freedom and do not hate it or take 
fright at it, but on the contrary love it all these are 
joriginal^men ; they are, when considered as a people, 
11 gngmaT people, the peoglejir^^gpT^an^^ All 
Wh r ^*gn "d^selves to being "something secondary 
and derivative, ariffwBo "Histmctly know and comprehend 
that they are such, are so in fact, and become ever more 
so because of this belief of theirs ; (they are an appendix to 
the lif ejyjiich bestirred itself of its own accord before them 
or beside them ; they are an echo resounding from the 
rock, an echo of a voice already silent ; jhey are, con 
sidered as a people, outside the original people, and to the 
latter they are ^strangers and foreigners. In_the nation 
I which to this very day calls itself simgl^y^ people, or 

I Gqinians, originality has broken forth into the light of 

day in modern times, at any rate up to now, and the 
power of creating new things has shown itself. Now, at 
last, by a philosophy that has become clear in itself, the 
mirror is being held up to this nation, in which it may 
recognize and form _a clear conception of that which it 
hitherto becaTnjby_jiature without being distinctly 

Eonscious of it, and to which it is called by nature ; and 
proposal is being made to this nation to make itself 
/holly and completely what it ought to be, to do this 
according to that clear conception and with free, and 
deliberate art, to renew the alliance, and to close its circle. 
The principle according to which it has to close its 
circle is laid before it : whoever believes in spirituality 
and in the freedom of this spirituality, and who wills 



the eternal development of this spirituality by freedom, \ \ 

wherever he may have been born and whatever language \Y J 
he speaks, is of our blood ; he is one of us, and will come 
over to our side. Whoever _ believes in stagnation, } 
retrogression, and the round dance of which weTTpok^ , 
or who sets a deacl "nature at the helm of the world s 
government, wherever he may have been born and what 
ever language he speaks, is-jion-German and a stranger 
to usj_and it is to be wished that he would separate 
himself from us completely, and the sooner the better. 

108. So, too, at this point let there appear before you 
at last, and unmistakably, what that philosophy, which 
with good reason calls itselfthe German philosophy, 
really wants, and wherein it is strictly, earnestly, and 
inexorably opposed to any foreign philosophy that believes 
in death. The German philosophy has as its support \ 
what we jsajd above about_ freedom j and he that still 
hath ears to hear, let him hear. Let it appear before you, 
not in the least with the intention of making the dead 
understand it, which is impossible, but so that it may be 
harder for the dead to twist its words, and to make out 
that they themselves want more or less the same thing 
and at bottom are of the same mind. This German ] 
philosophy does, indeed, raise itself by the act of thinking i 
not merely boasting about it, in accordance with a dim 
notion that it ought to be so, without being able to put 
it into practice it raises itself to the more than all 
infinity that is unchangeable, and in this alone it finds true 
being. It perceives time and eternity and infinity in their! 
rise from the appearing and becoming visible of that One 
which is in itself invisible and which is only comprehended, 
rightly comprehended, in this invisibility. Even infinity 
is, according to this philosophy, nothing in itself, and there 
is in it no true being whatever. It is solely the means 


by which the One thing that exists, and exists only in its 
invisibility, becomes visible, and the means by which there 
is built up for the One an image, a form, and a shadow 
of itself in the sphere of imagery. Everything else that 
may become visible within this infinity of the world of 
images is a nothing proceeding from nothing, a shadow 
of the shadow, and solely the means by which that first 
nothing of infinity and time itself becomes visible and 
opens up to thought the ascent to invisible being without 

Within this, the sole possible image of infinity, the 
invisible directly manifests itself only as free and original 
life of the sight, or as a decision of the will made by a 
reasonable being ; in no other way whatever can it appear 
and manifest itself. All continuous existence that appears 
as non-spiritual life is only an empty shadow projected 
from the world of sight and enlarged by the intermediary 
of the nothing a shadow, in contrast to which, and by 
recognizing it as a nothing enlarged by transmission, 
the world of sight itself ought to elevate itself to the 
recognition of its own nothingness and to the acknow 
ledgment of the invisible as the only thing that is true. 

109. Now, in these shadows of the shadows of shadows 
that philosophy of being, which believes in death and 
becomes a mere philosophy of nature, the deadest of all 
philosophies, remains a captive, and dreads and worships 
its own creature. 

This constancy is the expression of its true life and of 
its love ; and herein this philosophy is to be believed. 
But, when it goes on to say that this being, which it 
presupposes as actually existing, is one with, and precisely 
the same as, the Absolute, it is not to be believed, no matter 
how often it asserts this, nor even though it takes many an 
oath in confirmation. It does not know this, but only 


utters it trusting to luck, and blindly echoing another 
philosophy whose tenet in this matter it does not venture 
to dispute. If it should want to make good its claim to 
knowledge, it would have to proceed, not from duality as 
an undisputed fact (which its dictum, against which there 
is no appeal, does away with only to leave in full sway) 
but, on the contrary, from unity. From this unity it 
would have to be capable of deducing duality, and with it 
all manifoldness, in a clear and intelligible fashion. 
For this, however, thought is needed, and reflection 
consummated and perfected in itself. The philosophy 
we are referring to has, for one thing, never learnt the 
art of thinking in this way and is indeed incapable of it, 
having only the power to indulge in reverie. Besides, it 
is hostile to this way of thinking and has no inclination 
whatever to attempt it ; for, if it did, it would be dis 
turbed in the illusion that it holds so dear. 

This, then, is the essential thing in which our philo 
sophy deliberately opposes that philosophy ; and on this 
occasion it has been our purpose, once for all, to enunciate 
and establish this as definitely as possible. 



1 10. THE last four addresses have answered the question : 
What is the German as contrasted with other peoples 
of Teutonic descent ? The proof to be adduced by all 
this for our investigation as a whole is completed when we 
examine the further question : What is a people ? This 
latter question is similar to another, and when it is answered 
the other is answered too. The other question, which is. 
often raised and the answers to which are very different/ 
is this : What is love of fatherland, or, to express it more 
correctly, what is the love of the individual for his nation ? 

If we have hitherto proceeded correctly in the course 
of our investigation, it must here be obvious at once that 
only the German the original man, who has not become 
dead in an arbitrary organization really has a people and 
is entitled to count on one, and that he alone is capable of 
real and rational love for his nation. 

The problem having been thus stated, we prepare the 
way for its solution by the following observation, which 
seems at first to have no connection with what has pre 
ceded it. 

in. Religion, as we have already remarked in our 
third address, is able to transcend all time and the whole 
of this present sensuous life, without thereby causing the 



slightest detriment to the righteousness, morality, and 
holiness of the life that is permeated by this belief. 
Even if one is firmly persuaded that all our effort on this 
earth will not leave the slightest trace behind it nor 
yield the slightest fruit, nay more, that the divine effort 
will even be perverted and become an instrument of 
evil and of still deeper moral corruption, one can none 
the less continue the effort, solely in order to maintain 
the divine life that has manifested itself in us, and with 
a view to a higher order of things in a future world, inV 
which no deed that is of divine origin is lost. Thus the 
apostles, for example, and the primitive Christians 
in general, because of their belief in heaven had their 
hearts entirely set on things above the earth even in 
their lifetime ; and earthly affairs the State, their 
earthly fatherland, and nation were abandoned by them 
so entirely that they no longer deemed them worthy of 
attention. Possible though this is, and to faith not 
difficult, and joyfully though one must resign one s self, 
once it is the unalterable will of God, to having an earthly 
fatherland no longer and to being serfs and exiles here 
below, nevertheless it is not the 

_ _ 

rule of tri^universe ; on the contrary, it is a rare exception. 
It is a grosjymsu,sej}f religion, a misuse of which Chris 
tianity among other religions has frequently been guilty, 
to make a point of recommending, on principle and 
without regard to existing circumstances, such a with 
drawal from the affairs of the State and the nation as 
the mark of a true religious disposition. In such a con-a 
dition of things, if it is true and real and not merely the! 
product of fitful religious zeal, temporal life loses allr 
^independent existence and becomes merely a forecourt 1 
of true life and a period of severe trial which is endured \ 
only out of obedience and resignation to the will of God. 


Then it is true that immortal souls, as many have imagined, 
are housed in earthly bodies, as in prisons, for their punish 
ment. But, on the other hand, in the regular order of 
things this earthly life itself is intendeJ~Eo^Ee~t ruly life, 
of which we may be glad and which we may enjoy in 
gratitude, while, of course, looking forward to a higher 
life. Although it is true that religion is, for one thing, 
the consolation of the unjustly oppressed slave, yet this 
above all is the mark of a religious disposition, viz., to 
fight against slavery and, as far as possible, to prevent 
religion from sinking into a mere consolation for captives. 
No doubt it suits the tyrant well to preach religious 
resignation and to bid those look to heaven to whom he 
allows not the smallest place on earth. But we for our 
part must be in less haste to adopt this view of religion 
that he recommends ; and we must, if we can, prevent 
earth from being made into a hell in order to arouse a 
greater longing for heaven. 

112. The natural impulse of man, which should be 
abandoned only in case of real necessity, is to find heaven 
on this earth, and to endow his daily work on earth with 
permanence and eternity ; to plant and to cultivate the 
eternal in the temporal not merely in an incomprehen- 

%ible fashion or in a connection with the eternal that seems 
to mortal eye an impenetrable gulf, but in a fashion 

\visible to the mortal eye itself. 

Let me begin with an example that everyone will under 
stand. What man of noble mind is there who does not 
earnestly wish to relive his own life in a new and better 
way in his children and his children s children, and to con 
tinue to live on this earth, ennobled and perfected in their 
lives, long after he is dead ? Does he not wish to snatch 
from the jaws of death the spirt, the mind, and the moral 
sense by virtue of which, perchance, he was in the days 


of his life a terror to wrongdoing and corruption, and 
by which he supported righteousness, aroused men from 
indolence, and lifted them out of their depression ? Does 
he not wish to deposit these qualities, as his best legacy 
to posterity, in the souls of those he leaves behind, so 
that they too, in their turn, may some day hand them on 
again, increased and made more beautiful ? What man of 
noble mind is there who does not want to scatter, by 
action or thought, a grain of seed for the unending 
progress in perfection of his race, to fling something new 
and unprecedented into time, that it may remain there 
and become the inexhaustible source of new creations ? 
Does he not wish to pay for his place on this earth and 
the short span of time allotted to him with something | 
that even here below will endure for ever, so that he, the 
individual, although unnamed in history (for the thirst 
for posthumous fame is contemptible vanity), may yet in 
his own consciousness and his faith leave behind him 
unmistakable memories that he, too, was a dweller on the^. 
earth ? What man of noble mind is there, I said, who 
does notj^nt this ? But only according to the needs of { 
noble-minded men is the world to be regarded and j 
arranged ; as they are, so all men ought to be, and for 
their sake ajnnp HOPS a world ^ejxjst. They are its kernel, 
and those of other mind exist only for their sake, being 
themselves only a part of the transitory world so long 
as they are of that mind. Such men must conform to^\ 
the wishes of the noble-minded until they have become^/ 
like them. 

113. Now, what is it that could warrant this challenge 
and this faith of the noble-minded man in the perman 
ence and eternity of his work ? Obviously nothing j 
but an order of things which he can acknowledge as in ( 
itself eternal and capable of taking up into itself that which 



is eternal. Such an order of things, however, is the special 

spintua]_nature_of human environment which, although 

indeed it is not to be comprehended in any conception, 

nevertheless truly exists, and from which he himself, with 

all his thoughts and deeds and with his belief in their 

eternity, has proceeded the people, from which he is 

descended and among which he was educated and grew 

up to be what he now is. For, though it is true beyond 

dispute that his work, if he rightly claims it to be eternal, 

is in no wise the mere result of the spiritual law of nature 

of his nation or absolutely the same thing as this result, 

/ but on the contrary is something more than that and in 

so far streams forth directly from original and divine life ; 

f it is, nevertheless, equally true that this something more, 

immediately on its first embodiment in a visible form, 

submitted itself to that special spiritual law of nature and 

found sensuous expression for itself only according to that 

law. So long as this people exists, every further revelation 

of the divine will appear and take shape in that people 

in accordance with the same natural law. But this law 

itself is further determined by the fact that this man 

existed and worked as he did, and his influence has become 

, a permanent part of this law. Hence, everything that 

follows will be bound to submit itself to, and connect 

, itself with, that law. So he is sure that the improvement 

i achieved by him remains in his people so long as the 

j people itself remains, and that it becomes a permanent 

i determining factor in the evolution of his people. 

114. This, then, is a people in the higher meaning of 

f the word, when viewed from the standpoint of a spiritual 

I world : the totality of men continuing to live in society 

with each other and continually creating themselves 

/ naturally and spiritually out of themselves, a totality 

I that arises together out of the divine under a certain 


special law of divine development. It is the subjection 
in common to this special law that unites this mass in 
the eternal world, and therefore in the temporal also, 
to a natural totality permeated by itself . The significance f\ 
of this law itself can indeed be comprehended as a whole, 
as we have comprehended it by the instance of the 
Germans as an original people ; it can even be better 
understood in many of its further provisions by consider 
ing the manifestations of such a people ; but it can never 
be completely grasped by the mind of anyone, for everyone 
continually remains under its influence unknown to him 
self, although, in general, it can be clearly seen that such a 
law exists. This law is a something more of the world of 
images, that coalesces absolutely in the phenomenal world 
with the something more of the world of originality 
that cannot be imaged ; hence, in the phenomenal world 
neither can be separated again from the other. Thatj 
law determines entirely and completes what has beenj 
called the national character of a people that la.w_Qju| 
^^ divine". From this it is 

clear that men who, as is the case with what we have 
described as the foreign spirit, do not believe at all in 
something original nor in its continuous development, but j 
only in an eternal recurrence of apparent life, and who 1 
by their belief become what they believe, are in the higher 
sense not a people at all. As they in fact, properly 
speaking, do not exist, they are just as little capable of 
having a national character. 

115. The noble-minded man s belief in the eternal 
continuance of his influence even on this earth is thus 
founded on the hope of the eternal continuance of the 
people .from which he has developed, and on the character 
istic of that people as indicated in the hidden~~law of 
which we have spoken, without admixture of, or corruption 


by, any alien element which does not belong to the totality 
of the functions of that law. This characteristic is the 
eternal thing to which he entrusts the eternity of himself 
and of his continuing influence, the eternal order of 
things in which he places his portion of eternity ; he 
must will its continuance, for it alone is to him the means 
by which the short span of his life here below is extended 

- into continuous life here below. His belief and his struggle 
to plant what is permanent, his conception in which he 
comprehends his own life as an eternal life, is t]ie_bond 
which unites first his own nation, and jhen, through 

, his nation, the whole human race, in a most intimate 
fashion with himself, and brings all their needs within 
his widened sympathy until the end of time. This is 

Qiis love for his people, respecting, trusting, and rejoicing 

pin it, and feeling honoured by descent from it. The 
divine has appeared in it, and that which is original has 
deemed this people worthy to be made its vesture and 
its means of directly influencing the world ; for this 
reason there will be further manifestations of the divine 

Mn it. Hence, the noble-minded man will be active and 
effective, and will sacrifice himself for hisjDeople. Life 
merely as such, the mere continuance of changing exis 
tence, has in any case never had any value for him ; he 
has wished for it only as the source of what is permanent. 
But this permanence is promised to him only by the 
continuous and independent existence of his nation. 
In order to save his nation he must be ready even to die 
that it may live(\and that he may live in it the only life 
for which he has ever wished. 

1 1 6. So it is. Love that is truly love, and not a mere 
transitory lust, never clings to what is transient ; only 
in the eternal does it awaken and become kindled, and 
there alone does it rest. Man is not able to love even 


himself unless he conceives himself as eternal ; apart from 
that he cannot even respect, much less approve of, him 
self. Still less can he love anything outside himself^ 
without taking it up into the eternity of his faith and of I 
his soul and binding it thereto. He who does not first 
regard himself as eternal has in him no love of any kind, ] 
and, moreover, cannot love a fatherland, a thing which for I 
him does not exist. He who regards his invisible life as 
eternal, but not his visible life as similarly eternal, may 
perhaps have a heaven and therein a fatherland, but 
here below he has no fatherland, for this, too, is regarded 
only in the image of eternity eternity visible and made 
sensuous and for this reason also he is unable to love his 
fatherland. If none has been handed down to such a 
man, he is to be pitied. But he to whom a fatherland 
has been handed down, and in whose soul heaven and 
earth, visible and invisible meet and mingle, and thus, 
and only thus, create a true and enduring heaven such 
a man rights to the last drop of his blood to hand on 
the precious possession unimpaired to his posterity. 

So it always has been, although it has not always been 
expressed in such general terms and so clearly as we 
express it here. What inspired the men of noble mind 
among the Romans, whose frame of mind and way of 
thinking still live and breathe among us in their works of 
art, to struggles and sacrifices, to patience and endurance 
for the fatherland ? They themselves express it often 
and distinctly. It was their fir^bjeli^f_jn__the eternal 
continuance of their Roma, and their confident expecta 
tion "tEF~Brey r ~3iemselves would eternally continue to 
live in this eternity in the stream of time. In so far as 
this belief was well founded, and they themselves would 
have comprehended it if they had been entirely clear 
in their own minds, it did not deceive them. To this 



very day there still lives in our midst what was truly 
eternal in their eternal Roma ; they themselves live with 
it, and its consequences will continue to live to the very 
end of time. 

"117. People and fatherland in this sense, as a support 
and guarantee of eternify~~bn earth and as that which 
can be eternal here below, far transcend the State in the 
ordinary sense of the word, viz., the social order as compre 
hended by mere intellectual conception and as established 

-J-auud maintained under the guidance of this conception. 

\ The aim of the State is positive law> internal peace, and 

\ a condition of affairs in which everyone may by diligence 
earn his daily bread and satisfy the needs of his material 
existence, so long as God permits him to live. All this 
is only a means, a condition, and a frajnework for what 
love of^fatherland really wants^ viz., that the eternal and 
the divine may blossom in the world^ and never cease 
to become more and more jmre, perfect, and excellent. 
I That is why this love of fatherland mustTtself govern the 
* NState and be the supreme, final, and^absouTte authority./ 
Its rirsF~exer else of this authority will be to limit the 
States choice of means to secure its immediate object 
internal p_eace. To attain this object, the natural 
freedom of the individual must, of course, be limited in 
many ways. If the only consideration and intention in 
regard to individuals were to secure internal peace, it 
would be well to limit that liberty as much as possible, 
to bring all their activities under a uniforin^rule, and to 
keep them under unceasm^ supervision. Even supposing 
such strictness were unnecessary, it could at any rate do 
no harm, if this were the sole object. It is only the higher 
1 view of the human race and of peoples which extends this 
narrow calculation. Freedom, including freedom in the 

! activities of external life, is the soil in which higher culture 


germinates ; a legislation which keeps the higher 
in view will allow T to freedom as wide a field as possible 
even at the risk of securing a smaller degree of uniform 
peace and quietness, and of making the work of govern- 
ment a little harder and more troublesome. 

118. To illustrate this by an example. It has happened 
that nations have been told to their face that they do not 
need so much freedom as many other nations do. It may 
even be that the form in which the opinion is expressed 
is considerate and mild, if what is really meant is that the 
particular nation would be quite unable to stand so much 
freedom, and that nothing but extreme severity could 
prevent its members from destroying each other. But, 
when the words are taken as meaning what they say, they 
are true only on the supposition that such a nation is 
thoroughly incapable of having original life or even the 
impulse towards it. Such a nation if a nation could 
exist in which there were not even a few men of noble mind 
to make an exception to the general rule would in fact 
need no freedom at all, for this is needed only for the 
higher purposes that transcend the State. It needs only 
to be tamed and trained, so that the individuals may live 
peaceably with each other and that the whole may be 
made into an efficient instrument for arbitrary purposes 
in which the nation as such has no part. Whethes 
this can be said with truth of any nation at all we may 
leave undecided ; this much is clear, that an original 
people needs freedom, that this is the security for its 
continuance as an original people, and that, as it goes on, 
it is able to stand an ever-increasing degree of freedom 
without the slightest danger. This is the first matter in 
respect of which love of fatherland must govern the State 

119. Then, too, it must be love of fatherland that 


ve veins the State by placing before it a higher object 
Chan the usual one of maintaining internal peace, property, 
personal freedom, and the life and well-being of all. 
/For this higher object alone, and with no other intention, 
1 does the State assemble an armed force. When the 
^question arises of making use of this, when the call comes 
to stake everything that the State, in the narrow concep 
tion of the word, sets before itself as object, viz., property, 
personal freedom, life, and well-being, nay, even the 
continued existence of the State itself ; when the call 
comes to make an original decision with responsibility 
to God alone, and without a clear and reasonable idea 
that what is intended will surely be attained for this 
is never possible in such matters then, and then only, 
does there live at the helm of the State a truly original 
and primary life, and at .this .point, and not before, the true 
sovereign_rights of government enter, like God, to hazard 
the lower life for the sake of the higher. In the main 
tenance of the traditional constitution, the laws, and civil 
prosperity there is absolutely no real true life and no 
original decision. Conditions and circumstances, and 
legislators perhaps long since dead, have created these 
things ; succeeding ages go on faithfully in the paths 
marked out, and so in fact they have no public life of 
their own ; they merely repeat a life that once existed. 
In such times there is no need of any real government. 
But, when this regular course is endangered, and it is a 
question of making decisions in new and unprecedented 
cases, then there is need of a life that lives of itself. What 
spirit is it that in such cases- may place itself at the helm, 
that can make its own decisions with sureness and cer 
tainty, untroubled by any hesitation ? What spirit, has an 
undisputed right to summon and to order everyone con 
cerned, whether he Him self be \vining r ~ornot, and to 


compel anyone who ..sists, to j^skjsyery thing includiri 
his life ? Not the spirit of the peaceful citizen s lov 
for the constitution and the Iaws,f1)u the devouring 
flame of higher patriotism, which embraces the nation 1 
as the vesture of the eternal, for which the noble-minded 
man joyfully sacrifices himself, and the ignoble man, who 
only exists for the sake of the other, must likewise. sacri 
fice himself. It is not that love of the citizen for the 
constitution ; that love is quite unable to achieve this, 
so long as it remains on the level of the understanding. 
Whatever turn events may take, since it pays to govern 
they will always have a ruler over them. Suppose the new 
ruler even wants to introduce slavery (and what is slavery 
if not the disregard for, and suppression of, the character 
istic of an original people ? but to that way of thinking 
such qualities do not exist), suppose he wants to introduce 
slavery. Then, since it is profitable to preserve the life 
of slaves, to maintain their numbers and even their well- 
being, slavery under him will turn out to be bearable if 
he is anything of a calculator. Their life and their 
keep, at any rate, they will always find. Then what is 
there left that they should fight for ? After those two 
things it is peace which they value more than anything. 
But peace will only be disturbed by the continuance of 
the struggle. They will, therefore, do anything just to 
put an end to the fighting, and the sooner the better ; 
they will submit, they will yield ; and why should they 
not ? All they have ever been concerned about, and all 
they have ever hoped from life, has been the continuation 
of the habit of existing under tolerable conditions. The 
promise of a life here on earth extending beyond the period 
of life here on earth that alone it is which can inspire 
men even unto death for the fatherland. 

1 20. So it has been hitherto. Wherever there has 



been true government, wherever bitter struggles have 
been endured, wherever victory has been won in the face 
of mighty opposition, there it has been that promise of 
eternal life which governed and struggled and won the 
victory. Believing in that promise the German Pro 
testants, already mentioned in these addresses, entered 
upon the struggle. Do you think they did not know that 
peoples could be governed by that old belief too, and held 
together in law and order, and that under the old belief 
men could procure a comfortable existence ? Why, then, 
did their princes decide upon armed resistance, and why 
did the peoples enthusiastically make such resistance ? 
It was for heaven and for eternal bliss that they willingly 
poured out their blood. But what earthly power could 
have penetrated to the Holy of holies in their souls and 
rooted out their beliefa belief which had been revealed 
to them once for all, and on which alone they based their 
rilope of bliss ? Thus it was not their own bliss for which 
I they fought ; this was already assured to them ; it was 
Lthe bliss of their children and of their grandchildren as 
Lyet unborn and of all posterity as yet unborn. These, 
too, should be brought up in that same doctrine, which 
had appeared to them as the only means of salvation. 
These, too, should partake of the salvation that had dawned 
for them. This hope alone it was that was threatened 
by the enemy. For it, for an order of things that long 
after their death should blossom on their graves, they so 
joyfully shed their blood. Let us admit that they were 
not entirely clear in their own minds, that they made 
mistakes in their choice of words to denote the noblest 
that was in them, and with their lips did injustice to their 
souls ; let us willingly confess that their confession of 
faith was not the sole and exclusive means of becoming a 
partaker of the heaven beyond the grave ; none the less 


it is eternally true that more heaven on this side of the 
grave, a braver and more joyful look from earth upwards, 
and a freer stirring of the spirit have entered by their 
sacrifice into the whole life of succeeding ages. To this 
very day the descendants of their opponents, just as much 
as we ourselves, their own descendants, enjoy the fruits 
of their labours. 

121. In this belief our earliest common forefathers, 
the original stock of the new culture, the Germans, as 
the Romans called them, bravely resisted the on-coming 
world-dominion of the Romans. Did they not have/ 
before their eyes the greater brilliance of the Roman 
provinces next to them and the more refined enjoyments 
in those provinces, to say nothing of laws and judges 
seats and lictors axes and rods in superfluity ? Were 
not the Romans willing enough to let them share in all 
these blessings ? v In the case of several of their own 
princes, who did no more than intimate that war against 
such benefactors of mankind was rebellion, did they not 
experience proofs of the belauded Roman clemency ? 
To those who submitted the Romans gave marks of 
distinction in the form of kingly titles, high commands 
in their armies, and Roman fillets ; and if they were 
driven out by their countrymen, did not the Romans 
provide for them a place of refuge and a means of sub 
sistence in their colonies ? Had they no appreciation 
of the advantages of Roman civilization, e.g., of the 
superior organization of their armies, in which even an 
Arminius did not disdain to learn the trade of war ? 
They cannot be charged w r ith ignorance or lack of con 
sideration of any one of these things. Their descendants, 
as soon as they could do so without losing their freedom, 
even assimilated Roman culture, so far as this was possible 
without losing their individuality. Why, then, did they 


fight for severl_^generatiQiLS-in bloody wars, that broke 
out again and again with ever renewed force ? A Roman 
writer puts the following expression into the mouth of 
their leaders : " What was left for them to do, except to 
maintain their freedom or else to die before they became 
slaves." Freedomtothem meant^ just_thjs_:. remaining 
Germans _and__contmuing to settle their own affairs 
independently and in accordance with the original spirit 
of their race, going on with their development in accord 
ance with the same spirit, ancLpropagating this indepen 
dence in their posterity. All those blessings which the 
Romans offered them meant slavery to them, because then 
they would have to become something that was not 
German, they would have to become half Roman. They 
assumed as a matter of course that every man would rather 
die than become half a Roman, and^that a true German 
could only want to live in order to be, and to remain, just 
a German and to bring up his children as Germans! 

They did not all die ; they did not see slavery ; they 
bequeathed freedom to their ^children. It is" their 
unyielding resistance which the whole modern world has 
to thank for being what it now is. Had the Romans 
succeeded in bringing them also under the yoke and in 
destroying them as a nation, which the Roman did in 
every case, the whole development of the human race 
would have taken a different course, a course that one 
cannot think would have been more satisfactory. It is 
they whom we must thank we, the immediate heirs of 
their soil, their language, and their way of thinking 
I for being Germans still, for being still^borne along on 
the stream of original and independent life. It is they 
whom we must thank for everything that we have been 
as a nation since those days, and to them we shall be 
indebted for everything that we shall be in the future, 


unless things have come to an end with us now and the 
last drop of blood inherited from them has dried up in 
our veins. To them the other branches of the race, 
whom we now look upon as foreigners, but who by descent 
from them are our brothers, are indebted for their very 
existence. When our ancestors triumphed over Roma the 
eternal, not one of all these peoples was in existence, but 
the possibility of their existence in the future was won for 
them in the same fight. 

122. These men, and all others of like mind in the^ 
history of the world, won the victory because eternity jl 
inspired them, and this inspiration always does, and always u* 
must, defeat him who is not so inspired. It is neither the ! 
strong right arm nor the efficient weapon that winsj 
victories, but only the power of the soul. He who sets 
a limit to his sacrifices, and has no wish to venture beyond 
a certain point, ceases to resist as soon as he finds himself in 
danger at this point, even though it be one which is vital 
to him and which ought not to be surrendered. He who 
sets no limit whatever for himself, but on the contrary 
stakes everything he has, including the most precious 
possession granted to dwellers here below, namely, life 
itself, never ceases to resist, and will undoubtedly win the 
victory over an opponent whose goal is more limited. 
A people that is capable of firmly beholding the counten 
ance of that vision from the spiritual world, independence, 
even though it be only its highest representatives and 
leaders who are capable of perceiving it a people capable 
of being possessed by love of this vision, as our earliest 
forefathers were, will undoubtedly win the victory over 
a people that is used, as were the Roman armies, only as 
the tool of foreign ambition to bring independent people 
under the yoke ; for the former have everything to lose, 
and the latter merely something to gain. But the way 



of thinking which regards war as a game of chance, where 
the stakes are temporal gain or loss, and which fixes the 
amount to be staked on the cards even before it begins 
the game such a way of thinking is defeated even by a 
whim. Think, for example, of a Mahomet not the 
Mahomet of history, about whom I confess I have no 
opinion, but the Mahomet of a well-known French poet. 1 
He takes it firmly into his head once for all that he is one 
of those exceptional beings who are called to lead the 
obscure and common folk of the earth, and in accordance 
with this preliminary assumption all his notions, no matter 
how mean and limited they may be in reality, of necessity 
seem to him, just because they are his own, great and sub 
lime ideas full of blessings for mankind ; all who set 
themselves against these notions seem to him obscure and 
common people, enemies of their own good, evil-minded, 
and hateful. Then, in order to justify this conceit of 
himself as a divine call, he lets this thought absorb his 
whole life ; he must stake everything on it, and cannot 
rest until he has trodden underfoot all who refuse to 
think as highly of him as he does of himself, and until he 
sees his own belief in his divine mission reflected in the 
whole contemporary world. I will not say what would 
happen to him if a spiritual vision, true and clear to itself, 
entered the lists against him, but he is sure to be victorious 
over those gamesters with limited stakes, for he stakes 
everything against them and they do not stake everything. 
No spirit drives them, but he is driven by a spirit, though 
it be but a raving one, the violent and powerful spirit of 
his own conceit. 

123. From all this it follows that the State, merely as 
the government of human life in its progress along the 
ordinary peaceful path, is not something which is primary 
1 [The reference is apparently to Voltaire s tragedy Mahomet.] 



and which exists for its_own_sake, but is. merely the means 
to the higher uose__o_the eternal, regular, and con 
tinuous development of what is purely human in this 
nation. It follows, too, that the vision and the love of 
this eternal development, and nothing else, should have 
the higher supervision of State administration at all 
times, not excluding periodToFpeace, and that this alone 
is able to save the people s independence when it is 
endangered. In the case of the Germans, among whom 
as an original people this love of fatherland was possible 
and, as we firmly believe, did actually exist up to the 
present time, it has been able up to now to reckon with 
great confidence on the security of what was most vital 
to it. As was the case with the ancient Greeks alone, 
with^jtheJj^mans-jJie_S^tate and the nation were actually 
separated from each other, and each was represented for / 
itself, the former in the ^separate German ^realms and 
principalities, the Ijttej^represejLted^jvisibly^in thejmperial 
connection aml^nvmbly by virtue of a law, not 
written, but living and valid in the minds of all, a law 
whose results struck the eye everywhere in a mass of 
customs_and institutions. Wherever the German language 
was ^ spoken, everyone who had first seen the light of day 
in its domain could consider himself as in a double sense 
a citizen, on the one hand, of the State where he was born 
and to whose care he was in the first instance commended, 
and, on the other hand, of the whole Gomrnpn fatherland 
of ^ tVi e. Qgrjn EH.. jTajj nr u To everyone it was permitted 
to seek out for himself in the whole length and breadth 
of this fatherland the culture most congenial to him or 
the sphere of action to which his spirit was best adapted ; 
and talent did not root itself like a tree in the place 
where it first grew up, but was allowed to seek out its 
own place. Anyone who, because of the turn taken by 


his own development, became out of harmony with his 
immediate environment, easily found a willing reception 
elsewhere, found new friends in place of those he had 
lost, found time and leisure to make his meaning plainer 
and perhaps to win over and to reconcile even those who 
were offended with him, and so to unite the whole. No 
German-born prince ever took upon himself to mark 
out for his subjects as their fatherland, with mountains 
or rivers as boundaries, the territory over which he 
ruled, and to regard his subjects as bound to the soil. 
A truth not permitted to find expression in one place 
might find expression in another, where it might happen 
that those truths were forbidden which were permitted 
in the first. So, in spite of the many instances of one- 
sidedness and narrowness of heart in the separate States, 
there was nevertheless in Germany, considered as a whole, 
the greatest freedom of investigation and publication that 
any people has ever possessed. Everywhere the higher 
culture was, and continued to be, the result of the inter- 
Action of the citizens of all German States : and then this 
higher culture gradually worked its way down in this 
form to the people at large, which thus never ceased, 
, broadly speaking, to educate itself by itself. This 
essential security for the continuance of a German nation 
was, as we have said, not impaired by any man of German 
spirit seated at the helm of government ; and though 
with respect to other original decisions things may not 
always have happened as the higher German love of 
fatherland could not but wish, at any rate there has been 
no act in direct , opposition to its interests; there has 
been no attempt to undermine that love or to extirpate 
it and put a love of the opposite kind in its place. 

124. But what if the original guidance of that higher 
culture, as well as of the national power which may not 


be used except to serve that culture and its continuance, 
the utilization of German property and blood what if 
this should pass from the control of the German spirit 
to that of another ? What would then be the inevitable 
results ? 

This is the place where there is special need of the 
disposition which we invoked in our first address the 
disposition not to deceive ourselves wilfully about our 
own affairs, and the courage to be willing to behold the 
truth and confess it to ourselves. Moreover, it is still 
permitted to us, so far as I know, to speak to each other 
in the German language about the fatherland, or at 
least to sigh over it, and, in my opinion, we should not 
do well if we anticipated of our own accord such a pro 
hibition, or if we were ready to restrain our courage, 
which without doubt will already have taken counsel 
with itself as to the risk to be run, with the chains forged 
by the timidity of some individuals. 

Picture to yourselves, then, the new power, which we 
are presupposing, as well-disposed and as benevolent as 
ever you may wish ; make it as good as God Himself ; 
will you be able to impart to it divine understanding as 
well ? Even though it wish in all earnestness the greatest 
happiness and well-being of everyone, do you suppose 
that the greatest well-being it is able to conceive will be 
the same thing as German well-being ? In regard to 
the main point which I have put before you to-day, I 
hope I have been thoroughly well understood by you ; 
I hope that several, while they listened to me, thought 
and felt that I was only expressing in plain words what 
has always lain in their minds ; I hope that the other 
Germans who will some day read this will have the same 
feeling indeed, several Germans have said practically 
the same thing before I did, and the unconscious basis of 


the resistance tjiat has been repeatedly manifested to a 
purely mechanical constitution and policy of the State 
has been the view of things which I have presented to you. 
Now, I challenge all those who are acquainted with the 
modern literature of foreign countries to show me one 
of their poets or legislators who in recent times has ever 
betrayed a glimmering of anything similar to the view 
that regards the human race as eternally progressing, and 
that refers all its activities in this world solely to this 
eternal progress. Even in the period of their boldest 
flights of political creation, was there a single one who 
demanded more from the State than the abolition of 
inequalities, the maintenance of peace within their 
borders and of national reputation without, or, in the 
extremest case, domestic bliss ? If, as we must conclude 
from all these indications, this is their highest good, they 
will not attribute to us any higher needs or any higher 
demands on life. Assuming they always display that 
beneficent disposition towards us and are free from any 
selfishness or desire to be greater than we are, they will 
think they have provided splendidly for us if we are given 
everything that they themselves know to be desirable. 
But the thing for which alone the nobler men among 
us wish to live is then blotted out of public life ; and as 
soon as the people, which has always shown itself responsive 
to the stirrings of the noble mind and which we were 
entitled to hope might be elevated in a body to that 
nobility, is treated as those to whom we are referring 
want to be treated, it is degraded and dishonoured, and, 
by its confluence with a people of a lower species, it is 
blotted out of the universe. 

125. But he, in whom those higher demands on life 
remain alive and powerful and who has a feeling that 
their right is divine, feels himself set back, much against 


his will, into those early days of Christianity, when it was 
said : " Resist not evil ; but whosoever shall smite thee 
on the right cheek, turn to him the other also ; and if 
any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke 
also." The latter is well said, for, so long as he sees that 
thou still hast a cloke, he seeks to pick a quarrel with thee 
so as to take this from thee also, and only when thou art 
quite naked wilt thou escape his attention and be left 
in peace. To such a man the earth becomes a hell and 
a place of horror, just because of his higher mind, which 
does him honour. He wishes he had never been born ; 
he wishes that his eyes may be closed to the light of day, 
and the sooner the better ; his days are filled with ever 
lasting sorrow until he descends to the grave, and for those 
whom he loves he can wish no greater boon than a dull 
and contented mind, so that with less suffering they may 
live for an eternal life beyond the grave. 

These addresses lay before you the sole remaining means, 
now that the others have been tried in vain, of preventing 
this annihihl^njDfey^ may break out 

among us in the future, and of preventing this degradation 
of our whole nation. They propose that you establish 
deeply and indelibly in the hearts of all, by means of 
education, the true and all-powerful love of fatherland, 
the conception of our people as an eternal people and 
as the security for our own eternity. What kind of 
education can do this, and how it is to be done, we shall 
see in the following addresses. 



126. IN our last address several proofs that had been 
promised in the first address were given and completed. 
The present problem, the first task, we said, is simply 
to preserve the existence and continuance of what is 
German. All other differences vanished, we said, before 
the higher point of view, and thereby no harm would 
happen to the special obligations under which anyone 
might consider himself to be. If only we keep in mind 
the distinction that has been drawn between State and 
nation, it is clear that even in the past it was not possible 
for their interests ever to come into conflict. Besides, the 
higher love of fatherland, love for the whole people of the 
German nation, had to reign supreme, and rightly so, in 
each particular German State. Not one of them could, 
indeed, lose sight of this higher interest without alienating 
everything noble and good, and so hastening its own down 
fall. The more, therefore, anyone was affected and 
animated by that higher interest, the better citizen also 
he was for the particular German State, in which his 
immediate sphere of action lay. German States might 
quarrel among themselves about particular established 
privileges. Anyone who wished for the continuance of 
the established state of affairs, and this must undoubtedly 



have been the wish of every sensible person for the sake 
of the more remote consequences, must have d lired 
right to prevail, no matter on what side it might be. 
A particular German State could, at most, have airied at 
uniting the whole German nation under its sway, and at 
introducing autocracy in place of the established republic 
of peoples. Suppose, as I for instance of cour^ - maintain, 
that it is just this republican constitution that has hitherto 
been the best source of German civilization and the chief 
guarantee of its individuality. Then, if the unity of 
government which we are presupposing had itself borne, 
not the republican, but the monarchical form, under 
which it would have been possible for the autocrat to 
nip in the bud for his lifetime any new branch of original 
culture throughout the whole German soil if my sup 
position is true, I say, it would certainly have been a 
great disaster for the cause of German love of fatherland, 
if that plan had succeeded, and every man of noble mind 
throughout the whole length and breadth of the common 
soil would have been bound to resist it. Yet, even in 
this most unfortunate event, it would always have been 
Germans who ruled over Germans and were the original 
directors of their affairs. Even if for a short period the 
characteristic German spirit had been lacking, there would 
still have remained the hope that it would awake again, 
and every stout heart throughout the whole country 
could have expected to get a hearing and to make 
itself intelligible. A German nation would always have 
remained in existence and have ruled itself, and would 
not have sunk into an existence of a lower order.- Here 
the essential point in our calculation is always that German 
national love itself either is at the helm of the German 
State or can reach it with its influence. But if, according 
to our previous supposition, the control of the German 


State whether now that State appear as one or as 
seve* il does not matter ; in reality it is one dropped 
front German into foreign hands, it is certain for the 
oppobfte would be contrary to all nature and utterly 
impossible it is certain, I say, that from that moment 
onwards no longer German, but foreign interests would 
decide. V 7 hereas formerly the united national interest 
of the Germans had its place and was represented at 
the helm of the State, it would now be banished. Now, 
if it is not to be completely destroyed from off the earth, 
another place of refuge must be prepared for it, and that 
in what alone remains, with the governed, among the 
citizens. If it already existed in the majority of them, 
we should not have got into the plight which we are now 
I considering ; therefore, it does not exist in them, and must 
(first of all be instilled in them. In other words, the 
majority of the citizens must be educated to this sense 
pf fatherland, and, in order that one may be sure of the 
majority, this education must be tried on all. So with 
this it is now plainly and clearly proved, as was likewise 
^formerly promised, that education is the only possible 
Imeans of saving German independence. Undoubtedly 
it will not be our fault if anyone has not even yet been 
able to grasp the true content and the purpose of these 
addresses, and the sense in which all our statements are 
to be taken. 

127. To put it more briefly. According to our sup 
position, those who need protection are deprived of the 
guardianship of their parents and relatives, whose place 
has been taken by masters. If they are not to become 
absolute slaves, they must be released from guardianship, 
and the first step in this direction is to educate them to 
manhood. German love of fatherland has lost its place ; 
it shall get another, a wider and deeper one ; there in 


peace and obscurity it shall establish itself and harden itself 
like steel, and at the right moment break forth in youthful 
strength and restore to the State its lost independence. 
Now, in regard to this restoration foreigners, and also 
those among us who have petty and narrow minds and 
despairing hearts, need not be alarmed ; one can console 
them with the assurance that not one of them will live 
to see it, and that the age which will live to see it will 
think otherwise than they. 

128. Now whether this proof, closely though its parts 
hang together, will affect others and stimulate them to 
activity, depends first of all upon whether there is such 
a thing as the German individuality and German love 
of fatherland which we have described, and whether it 
is worth preserving and striving after or not. That the 
foreigner, abroad or at home, denies this may be taken 
for granted ; but his advice is not asked for. Besides, 
it is to be noted here that the deciding of this question 
does not depend at all upon proof by conceptions ; 
these can certainly make us clear in this matter, but can 
give no information about real existence or value, which 
can be proved only by the immediate experience of each 
individual. In a case like this, though millions may say 
that it does not exist, that can never mean more than that 
it does not exist in them ; by no means, however, that 
it does not exist at all ; and if a single person rises against 
these millions and declares that it does exist, he carries 
his point against them all. Nothing prevents me, as 
I now speak, from being in the given case that one person 
who asserts that he knows from immediate experience 
that there is such a thing as German love of fatherland, 
that he knows the infinite value of its object, that this 
love alone has driven him, in spite of every danger, to 
say what he has said and will still say, since nothing else 


is left to us now but speech, and even it is checked and 
restrained in every way. Whoever feels this within him 
will be convinced ; whoever does not feel it cannot be 
convinced, for my proof rests entirely on that supposition ; 
on him my words are lost ; but who would not stake 
something so insignificant as words ? 

129. That definite education, from which we expect 
the salvation of the German nation, has been described 
in general terms in our second and third addresses. We 
described it as a complete regeneration of the human race, 
and it will be appropriate to link up with this description 
a repetition of the general survey. 

130. As a rule, the world of the senses was formerly 
accepted as the only true and really existing world ; it 
was the first that was brought before the pupil in educa 
tion. From it alone was he led on to thought and, for 
the most part, to thought that was about it and in its 
service. The new education exactly reverses this order. 
For it the world that is comprehended by thought is 
the only true and really existing world, and into this it 
wishes to introduce the pupil from the very beginning. 
It is only to this world of the spirit that it wishes to link 
his whole love and his whole pleasure, so that with him 
there will inevitably begin and develop a life in it alone. 
Formerly there lived in the majority naught but flesh, 
matter, and nature ; through the new education spirit 
alone shall live in the majority, yea, very soon in all, 
and spur them on ; the stable and certain spirit, which 
was mentioned before as the only possible foundation 
of a well-organized State, shall be produced everywhere. 

131. Such an education undoubtedly achieves the 
object which we have specially set before us and from 
which our addresses started. That spirit which is to 
be produced includes the higher love of fatherland, the 


conception of its earthly life as eternal and of the father 
land as the support of that eternity. If it is produced in 
the Germans, it will include love of the German father 
land as one of its essential elements, and from that love 
there spring of themselves the courageous defender of 
his country and the peaceful and honest citizen. Such 
an education, indeed, achieves even more than that 
immediate object ; that is always the case when thorough 
going measures are willed for a great purpose ; the whole 
man is inwardly perfected and completed in every part, 
and outwardly equipped with perfect fitness for all 
his purposes in time and eternity. Spiritual nature has 
inseparably connected our complete cure from all the 
evils that oppress us with our recovery as a nation and 

132. We have nothing more to do here with the 
stupid surprise of some, when we assert such a world of 
pure thought, and assert it, indeed, as the only possible 
world, and reject the world of sense ; nor have we anything 
more to do with those who deny the former world 
altogether, or deny only the possibility that the majority 
of the people at large can be brought into it. We have 
already completely rejected these things. He who does 
not yet know that there is a world of thought can 
instruct himself meanwhile about it elsewhere by the 
available means ; we have no time for that instruction 
here. But we do intend just this ; to show how even 
the majority of the people at large can be raised into 
that world. 

133. Now, in our deliberate opinion the idea of such 
a new education is not to be considered as simply a 
picture set up for the exercise of ingenuity of mind or of 
skill in argument, but is rather to be put into practice 
at once and introduced into life. Our task, therefore, 


is first of all to point out what already exists in the actual 
world with which the realization of this should be con 

We give this answer to the question : it ought to be 
connected with the system of instruction invented and 
proposed by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, and already 
successfully practised under his eyes. We intend to 
give good reasons for this decision of ours and to define it 

First of all, we have read and reflected over the man s 
own writings, from which we have formed our conception 
of his art of instruction and education. We have taken 
no notice of the reports and opinions of the current 
literary periodicals, nor of their further opinions upon 
those opinions. We observe this in order to recommend 
this method and the complete avoidance of its opposite 
to everyone who wishes likewise to have a conception of 
this subject. Similarly, up to the present we have not 
desired to see anything of it in actual practice ; not from 
disrespect, but because we wanted first to provide our 
selves with a definite and clear conception of the inventor s 
true intention. The application may often fall short of 
the intention, but from that conception the conception 
of the application and of the inevitable result follows 
without any experiment, and, equipped with this alone, 
one can truly understand the application and judge it 
correctly. If, as some believe, even this system of 
instruction has already degenerated here and there into 
blind, empirical groping and into empty play and show, 
for that the author s fundamental conception, at least, 
is in my opinion quite blameless. 

134. Now this fundamental conception is warranted 
for me, first of all by the individuality of the man himself, 
as he shows it in his writings with the truest and most 


hearty frankness. I could have used him, just as well as 
I used Luther or as I might use anyone else if there 
have been others like them, to demonstrate the char 
acteristics of the German spirit and to give the gratifying 
proof that this spirit, in all its miraculous power, reigned 
down to the present day within the range of the German 
tongue. He, also, has spent a laborious life struggling 
with every possible obstacle ; within, with his own 
stubborn obscurity and awkwardness and his very scanty 
supply of the most ordinary aids to scholarly education ; 
without, with continual misunderstanding. Towards an 
end, which he simply surmised and which was quite 
unknown to him, he has struggled, upheld and stimulated 
by an unconquerable and all-powerful and German 
impulse, a love of the poor neglected people. As in the 
case of Luther, only in another connection and one more 
in keeping with his age, this all-powerful love had made 
him its instrument and had become the life of his life. 
It was the unknown but definite and unchanging guide 
which led his life through the all-enveloping night, and, 
because it was impossible for such a love to leave the earth 
unrewarded, crowned its evening with his truly spiritual 
invention, which achieved far more than he had ever 
longed for in his boldest wishes. He wished simply to 
help the people ; but his invention, when developed to 
the full, raises the people, removes every difference 
between them and an educated class, provides national 
education instead of the desired popular education, and 
might, indeed, have the power of helping peoples and the 
whole human race to rise from the depths of their present 

135. This fundamental conception of his appears in 
his writings with complete clearness and unmistakable 
precision. First of all, in regard to the form, he desires, 


not the caprice and blind groping that has hitherto 
existed, but a definite and deliberate art of education ; 
that is what we, too, wish and what German thoroughness 
must necessarily wish. He relates 1 very frankly how a 
French phrase, that he wanted to make education mecha 
nical, made his mind clear concerning this aim of his. 
In regard to the content, the first step in the new educa 
tion described by me is that it shall stimulate and train 
the free activity of the pupil s mind, his thought, in which 
later the world of his love shall dawn for him. With 
this first step Pestalozzi s writings deal excellently ; 
our examination of his fundamental conception treats 
this subject first of all. In this regard his censure of 
the previous system of instruction, that it has only 
plunged the pupil in mist and shadow and has never let 
him reach actual truth and reality, agrees with ours, 
that this system has never been able to influence life, nor 
to form the root of life. Pestalozzi s proposed remedy 
for this, to lead the pupil to direct perception, is synony 
mous with ours, to stimulate his mental activity to the 
creation of images and to let him learn everything just 
by this free formation ; for perception of what has been 
freely created is the only possible perception. The 
application, to be mentioned later, proves that the 
inventor really means this, and does not understand by 
perception that blindly groping and fumbling sense- 
impression. Quite rightly, too, this general and very far- 
reaching law is laid down for the stimulation of the pupil s 
perception by education : from the beginning keep pace 
exactly with the evolution of the child s powers that are 
to be developed. 

136. On the other hand, in Pestalozzi s system of 
instruction all the mistakes in terms and proposals have 
1 [See De Guimps,Life of Pestalozzi, Sonnenschein & Co., 1903, p. 183.] 


one common source, the confusion and opposition of 
two things ; on one side, the paltry and limited end 
originally aimed at, namely, to lend such aid as is abso 
lutely necessary to those children from among the people 
who are the most neglected, on the supposition that the 
whole people will remain as it is ; and on the other side, 
the means leading to a far higher end. One is saved from 
all error and obtains a completely consistent conception 
by dropping the former and everything that results from 
its consideration, and keeping only to the latter and carry 
ing it out consistently. Undoubtedly it was solely the 
desire to release from school as soon as possible the very 
poorest children for bread-winning, and yet to provide 
them with a means of making up for the interrupted 
instruction, that gave rise in Pestalozzi s loving heart to 
the over-estimation of reading and writing, to the setting 
up of these as almost the aim and climax of popular 
education, and to his simple belief in the testimony of 
past centuries, that this is the best aid to instruction. For 
otherwise he would have found that reading and writing 
have been hitherto just the very instruments for envelop 
ing men in mist and shadow and for making them con 
ceited. That same desire of his is undoubtedly the source 
of several other proposals that are in contradiction to his 
priru:ipla^ol_direct: perception, and especially his utterly 
false notion of language as a means of raising our race 
from dim perception to clear ideas. For our part, we 
have not spoken of the education of the people in opposi 
tion to that of the higher classes, because we no longer 
want to have the word " people " used in the sense of 
vulgar common populace, nor can German national 
interests tolerate this sense of the word any longer ; but 
we have spoken of national education. If it shall ever 

come to this, the miserable wish that education shall 



be finished very soon and the child again set to work 
must not be breathed any longer, but given up right at 
the beginning of the consideration of this matter. In 
my opinion, indeed, this education will not be expensive, 
the institutions will be able to maintain themselves to 
a great extent, and work will not suffer. I shall state my 
thoughts about this in due course ; but even if it were not 
so, the pupil must unconditionally, and at any cost, remain 
until education is and can be finished. That half- 
education is not a bit better than none at all ; it leaves 
matters as they were ; and if anyone desires this, he had 
better dispense also with the half and declare plainly at 
the very beginning that he does not want mankind to be 
helped. Now, assuming that the pupil is to remain until 
education is finished, reading and writing can be of no 
use in the purely national education, so long as this 
education continues. But it can, indeed, be very harm- 
Vul ; because, as it has hitherto so often done, it may easily 
Jjead the pupil astray from direct perception to mere 
signs, and from attention, which knows that it grasps 
nothing if it does not grasp it now and here, to distrac 
tion, which consoles itself by writing things down and 
wants to learn some day from paper what it will probably 
never learn, and, in general, to the dreaming which so 
often accompanies dealings with the letters of the alphabet. 
Not until the very end of education, and as its last gift 
for the journey, should these arts be imparted and the 
pupil led by analysis of the language, of which he has been 
completely master for a long time, to discover and use 
the letters. After the rest of the training he has already 
acquired, this would be play. 

137. So much for the purely universal national educa 
tion. It is a different matter with the future scholar. 
Some day he shall not only express his feelings about what is 


universally valid, but also by solitary reflection lift up into 
the light of language the hidden and real depths of his 
heart, of which he is unconscious. He must, therefore, get 
into his hands sooner, in the form of writing, the instru 
ment of this solitary yet audible thought, and learn to 
create ; yet even in his case there will be less need of 
haste than there has been in the past. This will become 
distinctly clearer in due course, when we distinguish 
between purely national and scholarly education. 

138. Everything that Pestalozzi says about sound and 
word as means for the development of mental power is to 
be corrected and limited in accordance with this view. 
The scope of these addresses does not permit me to go 
into details. I make, however, just the following remark 
which profoundly affects the whole matter. His book 
for mothers contains the foundation of his development 
of all knowledge ; for, among other things, he relies very 
much on home education. First of all, so far as this 
home education itself is concerned, we have certainly 
no desire to quarrel with him over the hopes that he 
forms of mothers. But, so far as our higher conception 
of a national education is concerned, we are firmly con 
vinced that, especially among the working classes, it 
cannot be either begun, continued, or ended in the parents 
house, nor, indeed, without the complete separation of 
the children from them. The hardship, the daily anxiety 
about making ends meet, the petty meanness and avarice, 
which occur here, would inevitably infect the children, 
drag them down, and prevent them from making a free 
flight into the world of thought. This also is one of the 
absolute and indispensable conditions for the realization 
of our scheme. We have seen enough of what will happen 
if mankind as a whole repeats itself in each successive 
generation as it was in the previous one. If its complete 


reformation is intended, it must once for all be entirely 
separated from itself and cut off altogether from its old 
life. Not until a generation has passed through the new 
education can the question be considered, as to what 
part of the national education shall be entrusted to 
the home. 

1 39. Setting that aside, and considering Pestalozzi s book 
for mothers simply as the first foundation of instruction ; 
to take, as the book does, the child s body as the subject 
of instruction is also a complete mistake. He starts with 
the very correct statement, that the first object of the 
child s knowledge must be the child himself. But is the 
child s body, then, the child himself? If it must be a 
human body, would not the mother s body be far closer 
and more visible to him ? And how can the child 
obtain a perceptual knowledge of his body, without first 
having learnt to use it ? That information is not know 
ledge, but simply the learning by heart of arbitrary 
word-symbols, brought about by the over-estimation 
of speaking. The true foundation of instruction and 
knowledge w r ould be, to use Pestalozzi s language, an 
A B C of the sensations. When the child begins to 
understand, and imperfectly to make, speech sounds, he 
should be led to make himself quite clear, whether he is 
hungry or sleepy, whether he sees or hears the actual 
sensation denoted by this or that expression, or, indeed, 
simply imagines it. He should be clear, too, as to the 
differences and degrees of difference of the various 
impressions on the same sense that are denoted by special 
words, e.g., the colours and the sounds of different bodies, 
etc. All this should take place in succession, developing 
properly and regularly the power of sensation. By this 
means the child first obtains an ego, which he abstracts in 
free and conscious conception, and which he scrutinizes 


by its aid ; as soon as it awakes to life, a mental eye is 
set in life, and from that time onward never leaves it. 
Thus, also, measure and number, in themselves empty 
forms, obtain for the succeeding exercises of perception 
their clearly recognized inner content which, according 
to Pestalozzi s method, can be given them only by 
obscure tendency and compulsion. In Pestalozzi s writ 
ings a confession, which is remarkable from this point of 
view, is made by one of his teachers who, when initiated 
into this method, began to perceive only empty geometrical 
bodies. This would happen to all pupils of that method 
if spiritual nature did not, unnoticed, guard against it. 
It is at this stage, too, when what is really perceived is 
thus clearly grasped, that not language signs, indeed, but 
speech itself and the need for expressing oneself to others 
trains man, and raises him out of darkness and confusion 
to clearness and definiteness. When the child first awakes 
to consciousness, all the impressions of surrounding 
nature immediately crowd upon him and are mingled 
to a vague chaos, in which no single thing stands out from 
among the general confusion. How is he ever to emerge 
from this stage of vagueness ? He needs the help of 
others ; he cannot get it except by definitely expressing 
his need and distinguishing it from similar needs which 
are already denoted in the language. Under the guidance 
of those distinctions he is compelled to reflect and to 
collect his thoughts, to notice what he actually feels, to 
compare it with, and differentiate it from, something else 
which he already knows but does not at present feel. 
Thus a conscious and free ego begins to be separated off 
in him. Now, education ought with deliberate and free 
art to continue the course which necessity and nature 
begin with us. 

140. In the field of objective knowledge, which is 


concerned with external objects, acquaintance with 
the word-sign adds absolutely nothing to the clearness 
and definiteness of the inner knowledge for the knower 
himself, but simply brings it within the sphere of what 
can be communicated to others, which is an altogether 
different sphere. The clearness of that knowledge 
depends entirely on perception, and whatever man s 
imagination can create again at will in all its parts, just 
as it really is, is fully known, whether one has a word for 
it or not. Indeed, we are convinced that this perfection 
of the perception should precede acquaintance with the 
word-symbol. The opposite process leads straight to 
that world of shadow and mist, and to premature loqua 
city, both of which are rightly so hateful to Pestalozzi. 
He who wants to know the word as soon as possible, and 
considers his knowledge increased as soon as he knows it, 
lives in that very world of mist and is anxious merely to 
extend it. Considering Pestalozzi s system of thought as 
a whole, I believe that it was just this A B C of sensation 
that he aimed at as the first foundation of mental develop 
ment and as the content of his book for mothers. In all 
his statements about language he had a dim notion of 
it, and it was only lack of training in philosophy that 
prevented him from becoming quite clear on this point. 

141. Now, presupposing this development of the 
knowing subject by means of sensation and setting it as the 
first foundation of the national education we have in 
view, Pestalozzi s A B C of sense-perception, the theory 
of the relations of number and measure, is the entirely 
appropriate and excellent consequence. With this per 
ception any part of the world of sense can be connected ; 
it can be introduced into the domain of mathematics, 
until the pupil is sufficiently trained by these preliminary 
exercises to be led on to the planning of a social order of 


mankind and to love of that order. This is the second 
and essential step in his training. 

142. But in the first part of education another subject, 
which is also mentioned by Pestalozzi, is not to be over 
looked ; the development of the pupil s bodily powers, 
which must necessarily go hand in hand with those of 
the mind. He demands an A B C of Art, i.e., of the 
bodily powers. His most striking statements about this 
are the following : l " Striking, carrying, throwing, 
pushing, pulling, turning, struggling, swinging, etc., are 
the simplest exercises of strength. There is a natural 
sequence in these exercises from the beginnings to the 
perfect art, i.e., to the highest stage of the nerve rhythm, 
which ensures blow and push, swing and throw, in a 
hundred different ways, and makes hand and foot certain." 
In this, everything depends on the natural sequence, 
and it is not enough that we should interfere in a blind 
arbitrary way and introduce any kind of exercise, just 
in order that it may be said of us that we too, like the 
Greeks perhaps, have physical education. Now, everything 
still remains to be done in this matter, for Pestalozzi has 
supplied no A B C of Art. This must first of all be sup 
plied, and that certainly requires a man who is versed 
in the anatomy of the human body and also in scientific 
mechanics, and who combines with this knowledge a 
high degree of philosophical spirit. Such a man will be 
capable of discovering in all-round perfection that machine 
which the human body is designed to be, and of showing 
how this machine may gradually be developed out of 
every healthy human body, so that every advance occurs 

1 [An almost exact quotation from Pestalozzi s Wie Gertrud ihre 
Kinder lehrt ; cf. Pestalozzi s Ausgewaehlte Schriften, ed. F. Mann, Langen- 
salza, vol. iii, p. 275, and see translation by Cooke, Sonnenschein & Co., 
1907, pp. 177, 178.] 


in the only possible correct sequence, thus preparing for 
and facilitating those that follow. Thereby the health 
and beauty of the body and the strength of the mind 
are not only not endangered, but are even confirmed and 
increased. It is obvious without further mention how 
indispensable this element is to an education which pro 
mises to train the whole man and is especially intended for 
a nation which shall restore again, and in the future 
maintain, its independence. 

We reserve for the next address what there is still to 
say by way of further definition of our conception of 
German national education. 



143. THE training of the pupil to make clear to himself 
first his sensations and then his perceptions, which must 
be accompanied by a systematic art of training his body, 
is the first part of the new German national education. 
In regard to the education of perception, we have a 
suitable method from Pestalozzi. A method for the 
education of the power of sensation is still lacking, but 
he and his collaborators, who have been summoned 
chiefly to solve this problem, will be able to furnish this 
easily. A method for the systematic development of 
physical strength is still lacking. What is required for 
the solution of this problem has been indicated, and it 
is to be hoped that, if the nation should show any eager 
ness for this solution, it will be found. All this part of 
education is but a means and a preliminary exercise for 
the second essential part, the civic and religious education.) 
The general remarks that it is necessary at present to make 
about this have already been mentioned in our second and 
third addresses, and we have nothing to add to them. 
It is the business of that philosophy which proposes a 
German national education to furnish definite instruc 
tions for the art of this education always, of course, 
taking into consideration and consultation Pestalozzi s own 



art of education. Once the need for such instructions 
arises, through the first part being fully carried out, that 
philosophy will not be slow to supply it. Every pupil, 
even if born in the lowest class for, in truth, the class 
into which children are born makes no difference to their 
talents will grasp, and indeed grasp easily, the instruction 
in those subjects. Such instruction, indeed, comprises, 
if you like, the most profound metaphysics and is the result 
of the most abstract speculation, and those subjects at 
present even scholars and speculating brains find it 
impossible to grasp. Let no one grow weary just now, 
wondering how this may be possible ; experience will 
teach this later, if only we will obey in regard to the first 
steps. It is only because our generation is held captive 
in the world of empty ideas and has not entered the world 
of true reality and perception at any point, that it is not to 
be expected that this generation should begin perception 
with the highest and most spiritual perception of all, 
and when it is already clever beyond measure. Philo 
sophy must require it to give up its present world and to 
provide itself with an entirely different one. It is no 
wonder if such a demand proves unavailing. But, from 
the very beginning, the pupil of our education has been 
at home in the world of perception and has never seen 
any other. He has not to change, but only to strengthen, 
his world ; and this takes place of itself. This education 
is, as we have already pointed out, the only possible 
education for philosophy and also the sole means of 
making philosophy universal. 

144. Education ends with this civic and religious 
instruction, and the pupil is now to be released. Thus 
we are clear at any rate in regard to the content of the 
proposed education. 

145. The pupil s faculty of knowledge must never be 


stimulated without love for the known object being f 
stimulated at_jJhje_-same time, for otherwise knowledge 
remains dead ; similarly, love must never be stimulated 
without becoming clear to knowledge, for otherwise love 
remains blind. This is one of the chief principles of our 
proposed education, with which Pestalozzi also must 
agree, since it is in accordance with his whole system of 
thought. Now, the stimulation and development of this 
love is connected with the systematic course of instruction 
by means of sensation and perception, and arises without 
our design or assistance. The child has a natural inclina 
tion for clearness and order. This is continually satisfied 
in that course of instruction, and so fills the child with 
joy and pleasure. But, while in this state of satisfaction, 
he is stimulated again by the new obscurities that now 
appear, and so he is satisfied anew. Thus life is passed 
in love of and pleasure in learning. It is this love by 
means of which each individual is connected with the 
world of ^thought ; it is th.e..bQnd_Df_JJie__ .sensuous and_ 
spiritual worlds. This love renders possible the easy 
develop menTof the faculty of knowledge and the success 
ful cultivation of the fields of science ; a result that is 
certain and premeditated in this education, but which 
was formerly attained by chance in the case of a few 
specially favoured persons. 

146. But there is yet another love, that which binds 
man to man and combines all individuals into one rational 
community with the same disposition. The first kind 
of love fashions knowledge ; this other kind fashions the 
life of action and stimulates people to show forth in them 
selves and in others that which has become part of their 
knowledge. Since for our special purpose it would be of 
little use simply to improve the scholar s education, and 
since the national education intended by us aims first of 


all at training not scholars but simply men, it is clear that, 
in addition to that first love, the development of the 
second is also an essential duty of this education. 

Pestalozzi speaks of this subject with soul-stirring 
enthusiasm. Yet we must confess that his statements 
did not seem at all clear to us, and, least of all, so clear 
that they could serve as the foundation for an art of 
developing that love. It is therefore necessary for us to 
state our own thoughts concerning such a foundation. 

147. The usual assumption, that man is by nature 

selfish, that the child also is born with this selfishness, and 

that it is education alone which implants in him a moral 

motive, is founded on very superficial observation, and 

is utterly false. Nothing can be created from nothing, 

and the development of a fundamental instinct, no matter 

to what extent, can never make it the opposite of itself. 

How then could education ever implant morality in the 

child, if morality did not exist in him originally and before 

all education ? It does, therefore, actually exist in all 

V human children that are born into the world ; the task 

I is simply to find out the purest and most primitive form 

in which it appears. 

- 148. "The results of speculative thought, as well as 
common observation, agree that the purest and most 
primitive form of morality is the instinct for respect, 
and that from this instinct there arises our knowledge of 
what is moral as the only possible object of respect, the 
right, the good, veracity, and the power of self-control. 
In the child this instinct appears first of all as the desire 
to be respected by those who inspire in him the highest 
respect. This instinct goes to prove with certainty that 
love does not arise from selfishness at all, because it is 
directed as a rule far more strongly and decisively towards 
the sterner parent, the father, who is more often absent, 


and who does not appear directly as a benefactor, than 
towards the mother, who with her beneficence is ever 
present. The child wants to be noticed by him, wants 
to have his approval ; only in so far as the father is satis 
fied with him is he satisfied with himself. This is the 
natural love of the child for the father, not as the guardian 
of his sensuous well-being, but as the mirror, from which 
his own worth or worthlessness is reflected for him. 
Now, the father himself can easily connect with this love 
obedience and every kind of self-denial ; for the reward 
of his hearty approval the child obeys with joy. Then 
again, this is the love which the child longs for from the 
father ; that he shall notice the child s effort to be good, 
and acknowledge it ; that he shall show that it gives him 
joy when he can approve, and grieves him heartily when 
he must disapprove ; that he desires nothing more than 
always to be able to be satisfied with him, and all his 
demands on the child have simply the intention of making 
him ever better and more worthy of respect. Again, the 
sight of this love continually animates and strengthens the 
child s love, and gives him new strength for all his further 
efforts. On the other hand, that love is killed by being 
disregarded, and by continual unjust misunderstanding ; 
in particular, it produces even hate, if in dealing with the 
child one allows selfishness to appear, and, e.g., treats as 
a capital crime some damage caused by his carelessness. 
He then sees himself regarded as a mere tool, and this 
outrages his feeling that he must himself be of worth, 
a feeling that is dim, indeed, but yet not absent. 

149. To prove this by an example. What is it that 
with the child adds shame to the pain of chastisement, 
and what is this shame ? Obviously it is the feeling of 
self-contempt, which is an inevitable accompaniment 
when the displeasure of his parents and educators is shown 


to him. Therefore, where punishment is not accompanied 
by shame, there is an end of education, and the punishment 
appears as an act of violence, which the pupil proudly 
disregards and ridicules. 

150. The bond, therefore, which makes men of one 
mind, and the development of which is a chief part of 
education for manhood, is not sensuous love, but the instinct 
for mutual respect. That instinct appears in two forms ; 
in the child it begins as unconditional respect for adults 
and becomes the desire to be respected by them, and to 
measure by means of their actual respect how far he also 
should respect himself. This confidence, not in one s 
own but in an external standard of self-respect, is also the 
special characteristic of childhood and youth. On its 
existence alone is based the possibility of all instruction 
and of all education of growing youths to perfect men. 
The adult has in himself his standard of self-esteem, and 
wishes to be respected by others only in so far as they have 
first of all made themselves worthy of his respect. With 
him that instinct assumes the form of demanding that he 
shall be able to respect others, and that he shall himself 
produce something worthy of respect. If there is no 
such fundamental instinct in man, whence then arises the 
phenomenon, that even the tolerably good man grieves to 
find men worse than he thought they were, and is deeply 
hurt at having to despise them ; for selfishness, on the con 
trary, is necessarily pleased at being able to exalt itself 
haughtily above others ? Now, the educator must 
exhibit this latter characteristic of adult manhood, just 
as, in the case of the pupil, the former characteristic is 
to be relied on with certainty. In this respect, the aim of 
education is just to produce adult manhood in the sense 
that we have mentioned. Only when that aim is attained 
is education really completed and ended. Hitherto many 


men have remained children all their lives, viz., those 
who needed for their satisfaction the approval of neigh 
bours, and believed they had done nothing right unless 
they pleased the latter. In contrast to these, strong robust 
characters have been those few who could rise above the 
judgment of others and satisfy themselves. As a rule, 
the latter have been hated, while the former were not, 
indeed, respected, but were, nevertheless, considered 

151. The foundation of all moral education is this; 
that one should know there is such an instinct in the child 
and presuppose it firmly established ; then, that one 
should recognize it when it appears, and gradually develop 
it more and more by suitable stimulation, and by pre 
senting to it material for its satisfaction. The very 
first principle is to direct it to the only object that is 
suitable, viz., to moral matters, but not to put it off with 
some material that is foreign to it. Learning, for instance, 
contains within itself its charm and its reward. Strenuous 
diligence could at most deserve approval as an exercise in 
self-control ; but this free and supererogatory diligence 
will scarcely find a place, at least in the purely universal 
national education. That the pupil will learn what he 
ought to must, therefore, be regarded as a matter of 
course, of which nothing more is to be said. The quicker 
and better learning of the more capable mind must be 
regarded merely as a natural phenomenon, which entitles 
him to no praise or distinction, and above all does not 
palliate other defects. It is in moral matters alone that 
a sphere of action ought to be allotted to this instinct ; 
but the root of all morality is self-possession, self-control, 
the subordination of the selfish instincts to the idea of 
the community. By this alone, and by absolutely nothing 
else, shall it be possible for the pupil to receive the educa- 


tor s approval, which he is directed by his spiritual 
nature, and accustomed by education, to need for his own 
satisfaction. As we have already mentioned in our second 
address, there are two very different ways of subordinat 
ing the personal self to the community. First of all, 
that way which absolutely must exist and can in no wise 
be omitted by anyone, subordination to the law of the 
constitution which is drawn up merely for the regulation 
of the community. He who does not transgress this law 
is not blamed, and that is all; he does not, however, receive 
approbation. Similarly, real displeasure and censure 
would fall upon him who transgressed ; this would take 
place in public if the wrong were, public, and if it remained 
ineffective, it could even be intensified by the addition 
of punishment. Secondly, there is that subordination 
of the individual to the community which cannot be 
demanded but can only be given voluntarily, viz., the 
raising and advancing of the well-being of the community 
by self-sacrifice. In order to impress correctly upon the 
pupils from youth upwards the mutual relationship of mere 
legality and this higher virtue, it will be appropriate to 
allow him only, against whom for a certain period there 
has been no complaint in regard to legality, to make these 
voluntary sacrifices as the reward, so to speak, of legality, 
but to refuse this permission to him who is not yet quite 
sure of himself in regard to regularity and order. The 
objects of such voluntary acts have already been pointed 
out in general, and will be indicated still more clearly 
later. Let this kind of sacrifice receive active approbation 
and real recognition of its merits, not in public in the form 
of praise, which might corrupt the heart, make it vain, and 
turn it from its independence, but in secret and with the 
pupil alone. This recognition ought to be nothing more 
than the outward expression of the pupil s own good 


conscience, the ratification of his satisfaction with him 
self and of his self-respect, and the encouragement to 
rely still further on himself. The following arrangement 
would promote admirably the advantages hereby intended. 
Where there are several male and female teachers, which 
we assume will be the rule, let each child choose freely, 
and as his feelings and confidence move him, one of them 
as a special friend and, as it were, adviser in matters of 
conscience. Let him seek his advice whenever it is difficult 
for him to do right. Let the teacher help him by friendly 
exhortation ; let him be the confidant of the voluntary 
acts which he undertakes ; and, finally, let him be the 
person who crowns excellence with his approval. Now, 
through these advisers in matters of conscience education 
would inevitably be of systematic aid to each individual in 
his own rise to ever greater power of self-control and self- 
possession. In this way steadiness and independence will i 
gradually arise ; with their production, education comes I 
to an end and ceases. By our own deeds and actions is 
the sphere of the moral world most clearly opened to us ; 
when it is thus opened to anyone, it is in truth opened to 
him. Such a person himself now knows what is contained 
in the moral world, and no longer needs the testimony of 
others concerning himself ; he can sit properly in judg 
ment on himself, and is from now onwards an adult. 

152. By means of what has just been said we have 
closed a gap that remained in our previous lecture and have, 
for the first time, made our proposal really practicable. 
Pleasure in the right and good for its own sake ought to 
be set, by means of the new education, in the place of the 
material hope or fear that has been employed hitherto ; 
this pleasure, as the sole existing motive, ought to set all 
future life in motion ; this is the essential feature of our 
proposal. But the first question that arises here is this ; 



how, then, is this pleasure itself to be created ? Created, 
indeed, in the proper sense of the word, it cannot be, 
for men cannot make something out of nothing. If our 
proposal is to be practicable at all, this pleasure must 
exist originally, and be simply present and innate in all 

I men without exception. And in fact it is so. Every child 
without exception wishes to be upright and good, and 

i does not want merely to be healthy, like a young animal. 
Love is the essential element in man ; it exists, as man 
exists, whole and complete, and nothing can be added to it, 
for it transcends the growing phenomenon of the sensuous 
life, and is independent of it. It is knowledge alone to 
which this sensuous life is connected, and which begins 
and develops with it. This development is but slow and 
gradual with the progress of time ; how, then, is that 
innate love to pass through the years of ignorance, and 
develop and exercise itself until an ordered system of ideas 
of right and wrong is formed, to which the motive of plea 
sure can be connected ? Wise nature has removed the 
difficulty without any assistance from us. Consciousness, 
starting from within the child, presents itself to him 
outwardly, embodied in the judgment of the adult 
world. Until a rational judge is developed in him, he 
is referred to this world by a natural instinct, and thus 
a conscience is given him outside himself, until one is 
produced within him. The new education ought to 
recognize this truth, but little known until now, and guide 
towards what is right the love that exists independent 
of education. Up to now, this simplicity and childlike 
faith of the young in the higher perfection of adults has 
been used, as a rule, for their corruption. It was pre 
cisely their innocence and their natural faith in us that 
made it possible for us, before they could distinguish 
good from evil, to implant in them, instead of the good 


that they inwardly wished, our own corruption, which 
they would have abhorred if they had been able to 
recognize it. 

153. This, I say, is the very greatest transgression of 
which our age is guilty, and this also explains a phenomenon 
of daily occurrence ; that, as a rule, man becomes so 
much the worse, more selfish, more dead to all good 
impulses, and more unfit for any good deed, the older 
he gets and the farther he has gone from the early days , 
of his innocence days which even yet echo, though 
faintly, in some intimations of the Good. It also proves 
that the present generation, if it does not completely 
isolate its successors, will inevitably leave behind an even 
more corrupt posterity, and this, again, one still more 
corrupt. An honoured teacher of the human race says 
of them with striking truth, that it were better that a 
millstone were hanged at once about their neck, and they 
were drowned in the depths of the sea. It is an absurd 
slander on human nature to say that man is born a sinner. 
If that were true, how, then, could there ever come to him 
an idea of sin, which, indeed, is possible only in contrast 
with what is not sin ? His life makes him a sinner, and 
human life hitherto was usually a progressive development 
in sinfulness. 

154. What has been said shows in a new light the 
necessity of making preparation without delay for a real 
education. If only the youths of the future could grow 
up without any contact with adults and entirely without 
education, one might always test what the result would be. 
But even if we only leave them in our society, their 
education takes place of itself without any wish or will 
of ours. They educate themselves to us ; to be like us, 
that forces itself upon them as their pattern. They 
emulate us, even without our requiring this, and desire 


nothing more than , to become just as we are. Now, 
usually the great majority of us are thoroughly perverse, 
partly without knowing it ; and because we are ourselves 
just as simple as children, we consider our perversity to 
be what is right. Even if we knew that we were perverse, 
how could we suddenly lay aside, in the presence of our 
children, that which a long life has made second nature 
to us, and exchange our whole former disposition and 
spirit for a new one ? In contact with us they must 
become corrupt ; that is unavoidable. If we have a 
spark of love for them, we must remove them from our 
tainted atmosphere and erect a purer abode for them. 
We must bring them into the society of men who, 
whatever they may be in other respects, have at least, 
by continuous practice, become accustomed, and gained 
the ability, to remember that children are watching them, 
the power of restraining themselves at least for so long, 
and the knowledge of how one must appear before 
children. We must not let them out of this society into 
ours again, until they have learnt to detest thoroughly 
all our corruption, and are thereby completely safe from 
all infection. 

These are the points that we have considered it neces 
sary to bring forward here concerning moral education 
in general. 

155. That the children ought to live together in com 
plete isolation from adults, with only their teachers and 
masters, has been mentioned several times. It is under 
stood, without special note from us, that this education 
must be given to both sexes in the same way. A separa 
tion of the sexes into special institutions for boys and 
girls would not suit our purpose, and would break several 
important principles of the education for perfect manhood. 
The subjects of instruction are the same for both sexes ; 


the difference in the manual tasks can easily be maintained, 
even while the rest of the education is common. Like 
the larger society which they are to enter some day as 
perfect human beings, the smaller society in which they 
are trained for manhood must consist of a combination 
of both sexes. Both must first of all recognize and 
learn to love in one another their common humanity, and 
must have male and female friends, before their attention 
is directed to sex distinction and they become husbands 
and wives. Also, the general relationship of the two 
sexes to each other, stout-hearted protection on the one 
side and loving help on the other, must appear in the 
educational institution and be fostered in the pupils. 

156. If our proposal should come to be realized, the 
first business would be to frame a law for the internal 
organization of these educational institutions. If the 
fundamental principle we have put forward once becomes 
thoroughly established, this is a very easy task, and we do 
not intend to lose time over it here. 

157. It is a principal requirement of this new national 
education that in it learning and working shall be com 
bined, that the institution shall appear, to the pupils at 
least, to be self-supporting, and that everyone shall be 
reminded to contribute to this aim with all his strength. 
This is in any case directly required by the problem of 
education as such, quite apart from the purpose of outward 
practicability and of economy, which will undoubtedly 
be expected of our proposal. One reason is that all who 
get through only the universal national education are 
intended for the working classes, and training them to 
be good workmen is undoubtedly part of their education. 
The special reason, however, is that a man s well-founded 
confidence that he will always be able to get on in the world 
by his own strength, and that he requires for maintenance 


no charity from others, is part of man s personal independ 
ence, and conditions moral independence much more 
than seems to be believed at present. This training would 
supply another part of education, which one might call 
education in the proper management of one s resources, 
which hitherto has also usually been left to blind chance. 
This part of education must be considered, not from 
the paltry and narrow point of view of saving for the sake 
of saving, which some ridicule with the name of economy, 
but from the higher moral standpoint. Our age often 
lays down as a principle beyond all contradiction that one 
must flatter, cringe, and be everyone s lackey, if one wishes 
to live, and that no other way will do. Our age does not 
reflect that, even if one should wish to spare it the 
counter-proposition (which may sound heroic, but is 
absolutely true), namely that, if such is the case, it ought 
not to go on living but ought to die, there yet remains the 
remark that our age ought to have learnt to live with 
honour. Let anyone fully inquire who are the persons 
conspicuous for dishonourable behaviour ; he will always 
find that they have not learnt to work, or that they are 
afraid of work, and, moreover, manage things badly. 
The pupil of our education ought, therefore, to be made 
accustomed to work, in order that he may be raised 
above the temptation to dishonesty in his struggle for a 
living. It ought to be impressed deeply on his mind as 
the very first principle of honour, that it is shameful to 
be willing to owe his means of existence to anything but 
his own work. 

158. Pestalozzi wishes all kinds of manual work to be 
carried on together with learning. We do not wish to 
deny the possibility of this combination under the con 
dition mentioned by him, that the child is already 
thoroughly skilled in manual work ; yet this proposal seems 


to us to arise from the paltriness of the original aim. In 
my opinion, instruction must be represented as so sacred 
and honourable that it requires the whole attention and 
concentration, and cannot be received along with some 
thing else. If such manual work as knitting, spinning, 
etc., is to be carried on during working hours in seasons 
which in any case keep the pupils indoors, it will be very 
useful to combine with it collective mental exercises under 
supervision, in order that the mind may remain active. 
But in this case the work is the important thing, and these 
exercises are to be regarded, not as instruction, but merely 
as recreation. 

159. In general, all manual work of this inferior kind 
must be put forward only as incidental, and not as essen 
tial. The essential manual work is the practice of agri 
culture, gardening, cattle rearing, and those, trades which 
they need in their little State. Of course, the partici 
pation in these that is expected of anyone is to be pro 
portional to the physical strength of his age ; the rest of 
the energy is to be supplied by machines and tools that 
will be invented. Here the chief consideration is that, 
so far as possible, the pupils must understand the prin 
ciples of what they do, and that they have already received 
the information necessary for their occupations concern 
ing the growing of plants, the characteristics and needs 
of the animal body, and the laws of mechanics. In this 
way their education becomes a kind of course of instruc 
tion in the occupations which they have to follow in the 
future, and the thoughtful and intelligent farmer is 
trained by direct perception. Further, their mechanical 
work is even at this stage ennobled and made intellectual ; 
it is just as much a verification from direct perception of 
what they have grasped in their minds, as it is work for 
a living. Even though associated with the animal and 


with the clod, they do not sink to the level of these, but 
remain within the sphere of the spiritual world. 

1 60. Let it be the fundamental law of this little economic 
State that no article of food, clothing, etc., and, so far 
as this is possible, no tool is to be used, which is not 
produced and made there. If this housekeeping requires 
support from outside, natural objects should be supplied, 
but none of any other kind than those it possesses. This 
must be done without the pupils learning that their own 
products have been increased ; or, if it is appropriate 
that they should be told, they should receive the supply 
simply as a loan and return it at a fixed time. Now, for 
this independence and self-sufficiency of the community 
every individual should work with all his might, without 
making a statement of account with it or claiming anything 
for his own property. Everyone should know that he is 
indebted absolutely to the community, and should eat or 
starve along with the community. Thereby the hon 
ourable independence of the State and of the family, 
which he is to enter some day, and the relationship of 
their individual members to them, is disclosed to his 
vivid observation and rooted ineradicably in his heart. 

161. This training to mechanical work is the point 
at which the education of the scholar, which is a part of, 
and rests upon, the universal national education, diverges 
from the latter. The scholar s education, which is now 
to be discussed, is, I said, part of the universal national 
education. I offer no opinion as to whether in the future 
everyone who believes he has sufficient ability to study 
or ranks himself for any reason with the higher- classes of 
former days will not still be free to take the old path of 
scholarly education. If we should once get our national 
education, experience will show how the majority of 
those scholars will fare, with their purchased learning, 


against, I will not say the scholar trained in the new 
school, but even against the ordinary man produced by it. 
However, I want to speak now, not of that, but of the 
scholar s education according to the new method. 

According to its principles, the future scholar, too, must 
have gone through the universal national education and 
have received completely and clearly its first part, the 
development of knowledge by sensation, perception, and 
whatever is connected with the latter. Permission to 
take up this profession can be granted by the new national 
education only to the boy who shows an excellent gift 
for learning and a conspicuous inclination for the world 
of ideas. It must, however, grant this permission to 
every boy who shows these qualities, without exception 
and without regard to so-called difference of birth. 
For a man is not a scholar for his own convenience ; 
every^_talent of that kind is a preciou^_ossession of the 
nation, and may not be taken from it. 

162. The^person who is not a scholar is destined to 
maintain the human race at the stage of culture it has 
reached, the scholar to advance it further according to 
a clear conception and with deliberate art. The scholar 
with his conception must always be in advance of the 
present age, must understand the future, and be able to 
implant it in the present for its future development. For 
this purpose he needs a clear survey of the previous 
condition of the world, unlimited skill in pure thought 
independent of phenomena, and, in order that he may be 
able to communicate his thoughts, control of language 
down to its living and creative root. All this necessitates 
mental self-activity, without guidance from others, and 
solitary reflection, in which, therefore, the future scholar 
must be exercised from the moment his profession is 
decided ; it does not mean, as in the case of the person 


who is not a scholar, merely thinking under the eye of an 
ever-present teacher ; it necessitates a great amount of 
subsidiary knowledge, which is quite useless in his voca 
tion to the person who is* not a scholar. This solitary 
reflection will be the scholar s work, the daily occupation 
of his life. He is to be trained at once for this work, 
but in return he is to be exempted from the other mechani 
cal toil. The education of the future scholar for manhood 
will, therefore, as formerly, proceed in general simultan 
eously with the universal national education, and along 
with all the others he will attend the instruction it supplies. 
Only those hours which the others spend in manual work 
will be devoted to the study of whatever his future 
profession specifically demands ; this will be the only 
difference. The general knowledge of agriculture, of 
other mechanical arts, and of their particular methods, 
which is to be expected of every man, the scholar will 
undoubtedly have learnt already while passing through 
the first class ; if he has not, he will have to acquire that 
knowledge afterwards. It is obvious that he is the last 
pupil of all to be exempted from the physical exercises 
that are prescribed. To give an account of the particular 
subjects which a scholar s education would include, or 
the course to be followed in them, is, however, beyond 
the scope of these addresses. 



163. THE scheme for the new German national education 
has been stated sufficiently for our purpose. The next 
question, which is now urgent, is this : who ought to 
place himself at the head to carry out this scheme, who is 
to be relied on, and on whom have we relied ? 

We have represented this ^ducation as the highest and, 
at present, the only ur gg n ^_^j^g ern of German love of 
fatherland, and wish to make it first and foremost the 
means of bringing into the world the improvement and 
regeneration of the whole human race. But that love 
of fatherland ought above all to inspire the German 
State, wherever Germans are governed, and take the-lead, 
and be the motive power in all its decisions. It is the 
State, therefore, to which we shall first of all have to 
turn our expectant gaze. 

Will it realize our hopes ? After what has already 
been said, what can we expect of it, looking, as is always 
understood, at no particular State, but at Germany as 
a whole ? 

164. In modern Europe educatior! actually originated, 
not with the State, but with that power from which 
States, too, for the most part obtained their power 
from the heavenly spiritual kingdom of the Church. 



The Church considered itself not so much a part of the 
earthly community as a colony from heaven quite foreign 
to the earthly community and sent out to enrol citizens 
for that foreign State, wherever it could take root. Its 
education aimed at nothing else but that men should not 
be damned in the other world but saved. The Refor 
mation merely united this ecclesiastical power, which 
otherwise continued to regard itself as before, to the 
temporal power, with which formerly it had very often 
been actually in conflict. In that connection, this was ^ 
the only difference that resulted from that event ; there / 
also remained, therefore, the old view of educational 
matters. Even in recent times, and until the present 
day, the education of the richer classes has been looked 
upon as the private concern of the parents, who might 
arrange it to their own satisfaction ; and their children 
were usually put to school simply because some day it 
would be useful to them. The sole public education, 
that of the people, however, was simply education for 
salvation in heaven ; the essential feature was a little 
Christianity and reading, with writing if it could be 
managed all for the sake of Christianity. All other 
development of man was left to the blind and casual 
influence of the society in which they grew up, and to 
actual life. Even the institutions for scholarly education 
were intended mainly for the training of ecclesiastics. 
Theology was the important faculty ; the others were 
merely supplementary to it, and usually received only 
its leavings. 

165. So long as those who stood at the head of the 
Government remairfed in the dark concerning its true 
aim and were filled with that anxiety of conscience about 
the salvation of themselves and others, one could rely 
with certainty on their zeal for this kind of public educa- 


tion and on their earnest efforts in its behalf. But, as 
soon as they were clear about the true aim of government 
and understood that the sphere of the State s action lies 
within the visible world, it must have been evident to 
them that anxiety about the eternal salvation of their 
subjects could be no concern of theirs, and that anyone 
who wanted to be saved there should see to it himself. 
From that time onwards they considered they were doing 
enough, if for the future they left to their original 
destiny the foundations and institutions that had origi 
nated in more pious ages. However unsuitable and 
insufficient they might be for totally changed times, 
they considered they were neither obliged to contribute 
to them by saving on their other aims, nor justified 
in interfering actively and setting useful innovations in 
the place of antiquated and useless things. To all pro 
posals of this kind the ever-ready answer was : the State 
has no money for that. If an exception were ever made, 
it was to the advantage of the institutions for higher 
education, which shed splendour far and wide, and pro 
cured fame for their patrons. But the education of 
that class which is the real foundation of the human race, 
by which the higher culture is ever restored, and on which 
that culture must continually react the education of 
the people remained neglected and, from the Reforma- 
tion down to the present day, has been in a state of 
increasing decay. 

1 66. Now, if for the future, and from this very hour, 
we are to be able to hope better things in this matter 
from the State, it wijil have jto exchange what seems to 
have been up to the present its fundamental conception \ 
of th.e aim of education for an entirely different one. ! 
It must see that it was quite right before to refuse to be 
anxious about the eternal salvation of its citizens, because 


no s^ecia^ training is required for such salvation, and 
that a nursery for heaven, like the Church, whose power 
has at last been handed over to the State, should not be 
permitted, for it only obstructs all good education, and 
must be dispensed with. On the other hand,_the State 

/ must see that education for ; Jife__on earth is very greatly 

/ needed "; from such a thorough education, training for 
/ heaven follows as an easy supplement. The more 
L enlightened the State thought it was before, the more 
firmly it seems to have believed that it could attain its 
true aim merely by means of coercive institutions, and 
without any religion and morality in its citizens, who 
might do as they liked in regard to such matters. May 
it have learnt this at least from recent experiences that 
it cannot do so, and that it has got into its present con 
dition just because of the want of religion and morality ! 
167. As for the State s doubt whether it can meet the 
cost of a national education, would that one could con 
vince it that by this one expenditure it will. provide for 
most of the others in the most economical way, and that, 
if only it undertakes this, it will soon have no other big 
expenditure to make ! U^r^tp^jthe^^resent, by far the 
largest part of the State s income has been spent on the 
maintenance of standing armies. We have seen the 
result of that expenditure ; that is sufficient ; it is 
beyond our plan to go more deeply into the special 
reasons for that result, which lie in the organization of 

7*-those armies. On the other hand, the State which 
introduced universally the national education proposed 
by us, from the moment that a new generation of youths 
had passed through it, would need no special army at 

?~all, but would have in them an army such as no age has 
seen. Each individual is exercised thoroughly in 
every possible use of his physical powers, and under- 


stands them at once, being accustomed to bear every effort 
and hardship ; his mind, developed in direct perception^ 
is ever alert and self-possessed ; in his heart there lives 
love of the community of which he is a member, of the 
State, and of his country, and this love destroys every 
other selfish impulse. The State can summon them and 
put them under arms when it will, and can be sure that 
no enemy will defeat them. Formerly, another source 
of concern and expenditure in wisely governed States 
was improvement in the management of the State s 
resources in its widest sense and in all its branches. In 
this, owing to the ignorance and helplessness of the lower 
classes, much care and money were spent in vain, and the 
matter has everywhere made but little progress. By 
means^of our education the State will get working- 
classes accustomed from their youth up to thinking about 
their business, and already able and inclined to help them 
selves. Now if, in addition, the State can help them in 
a suitable way, they will understand in a moment, and 
accept its instruction very gratefully. All branches 
of the State s economy will in a short time attain, without 
much difficulty, a prosperity which no age has yet seen ; 
and the State s original expenditure will be repaid a 
thousandfold, if it cares to reckon up and if by that time 
it has learnt the true fundamental value of things. 


Hitherto the State has had to do a great deal, and yet has 
never been able to do enough, for law and police institu 
tions. Convict_.prispris and refpj_matjories have caused 
it expense. Finally, the more that was spent on poor- 
houses, the more they required ; indeed, under the 
prevailing circumstances, they seemed to be institutions 
for making people poor. In a State which makes the 
new education universal, the former wiH~"bF greatly 
reduced, the latter will vanish entirely. Early discipline 


is a guarantee against the need in later years of reforma 
tion and penal discipline, which are very doubtful 

, measures, while in a nation so trained there are no poor 

I at all- 

1 68. May the State and all its advisers dare to look its 
true present position in the face and acknowledge it ! 
May it realize vividly that, apart from the education of 
the succeeding generations, there remains absolutely no 
sphere, in which it can act originally and independently 
like a real State, and make decisions ! May it see that, 
if it does not want to do nothing at all, there is but this 
that it can still do, and may it realize, too, that no one 
will envy or detract from the merit of this service ! The 
fact that we can nc^ longer make active resistance has 
already been postulated by us as obvious, and is admitted 
by everyone. Now, how can we justify the continuance 
of our forfeited existence against the reproach of cow 
ardice and of an unworthy love of life ? In no other way 
than by deciding not to live for ourselves, and by proving 
this in action ; by being willing to make ourselves the 
seed of a more worthy posterity and, for its sake alone, 
to maintain ourselves until we have set it up. Deprived 
of that chief aim in life, what can we do ? Our constitu 
tions will be made for us ; our alliances and the employ 
ment of our fighting forces will be prescribed to us ; 
a code of law will be given to us ; even justice and judg 
ment and their administration will sometimes be taken 
from us. For the immediate future we shall be spared 
the trouble of these matters. It is only of education 
that no one has thought ; if we are looking for an occu 
pation, let us seize this! Wgjnay__expect to be left in it 
undisturbed. I hope perhaps I deceive myself in 
this, but as I care to live only for that hope, I cannot 
give up hoping I hope that I shall convince some 


Germans, and get them to see that it is education alone 
that can save us from all the ills that oppress us. I 
rely especially on necessity having made us more inclined 
to attention and to serious reflection. Other countries 
have other consolations and other resources ; it is not 
to be expected that they will give any attention to the 
thought of education, or have any faith in it, should it 
ever occur to them. I hope rather that it will be a rich 
source of amusement to the readers of their papers, when 
they learn that anyone expects such great things from 

169. May the State and its advisers not let themselves 
become more loath to take up this task by the considera 
tion that the result hoped for is remote ! If among the 
numerous and highly complicated reasons for our present 
fate one wanted to single out that for which our govern 
ments alone are peculiarly to blame, it would be found 
that, although they above all others are bound to look 
the future in the face and master it, they have never 
tried, in spite of the urgency of the great events of their 
time, to do more than get out of the difficulty of the 
immediate moment as well as they could. In regard to 
the future, however, they have reckoned, not on their 
present age, but on some piece of good luck which should 
sever the fixed chain of cause and effect. But such hopes 
are deceptive. A motive power which is once allowed 
to enter the flow of time continues and completes its 
course ; once the first careless act has been committed, 
belated reflection cannot arrest it. Our fate has for the 
moment removed from us the possibility of making the 
first mistake, that of providing merely for the present ; 
the present is no longer ours. Let us not repeat the 
second, that of hoping for a better future from anything 
but ourselves. Indeed, the present can afford no con- 


solation for the duty to live to any one of us who requires 
for life something more than food ; the hope of a better 
future is the only atmosphere in which we can still 
breathe. But only the dreamer can base this hope on 
anything but what he himself can plant in the present 
for the development of a future. Let those who rule 
over us permit us to think as well of them as we do of 
each other, and as the better man feels ! Let them put 
themselves at the head of the business that is to us, too, 
quite clear, so that we may yet see arising before our 
eyes that which will some day wipe from our memory 
the shame that has been done to the German name before 
our eyes ! 

170. If the State undertakes the proposed task, it will 
make this education universal throughout the length and 
breadth of its domain for every one of its future citizens 
without exception. Indeed, it is for that universality 
alone that we need the State, since for individual begin 
nings and isolated attempts the resources of well-disposed 
"private persons would suffice. Of course, it is not to be 
expected that all parents will be willing to be separated 
from their children, and to hand them over to this new 
education, a notion of which it will be difficult to convey 
to them. From past experience we must reckon that 
everyone who still believes he is able to support his 
children at home will set himself against public education, 
and especially against a public education that separates 
so strictly and lasts so long. Now, in these cases of ex 
pected resistance it has been customary in the past for 
statesmen to reject the proposal with the reply: The 
State has no right to use compulsion for that purpose. 
If they want to wait until all men have the good will, 
since universal goodwill will never be produced without 
education, they are thereby secured against all improve- 


ment, and may expect that there will be no change 
until the end of time. In so far as these statesmen are 
among those who either consider any education an un 
necessary luxury, with which people should be supplied 
as scantily as possible, or see in our proposals only a 
daring new experiment with humanity, which may or 
may not succeed, they are to be praised for their con 
scientiousness. Those who are filled with admiration 
for the existing state of public education and with de 
light at the perfection which it has reached under their 
direction cannot really be expected now to agree with 
something which they do not already know. Not one 
of them is of any use for our purpose, and it would be 
deplorable if the decision in this matter were to rest 
with them. But statesmen might be found and consulted 
on this matter who, above all things, have educated them 
selves by a deep and thorough study of philosophy and 
science, who are in real earnest about their business, have 
a definite idea of man and of his vocation, and are capable 
of understanding the present and of judging what is 
absolutely necessary for mankind at this time. If such 
men perceived from those preliminary conceptions that 
education alone can save us from the barbarism and 
relapse into savagery that is otherwise bound to over 
whelm us, if they had a vision of the new human race 
which would arise through this education, if they were 
themselves inwardly convinced of the infallibility and 
certainty of the proposed remedy, they might be expected 
to have realized at the same time that the State, as the 
supreme administrator of human affairs and the guardian 
of those who are its wards, responsible only to God and 
to its own conscience, has a perfect right even to compel 
the latter for their welfare. For where is there a State 
to-day which doubts whether it has the right to compel 


its subjects to military service, and for that purpose to 
take away children from parents, whether one parent or 
both be willing or unwilling ? Yet this compulsion to 
adopt permanently a certain mode of life against one s 
will is far more serious, and has frequently the most 
harmful results to the moral condition, health, and life 
of those who are so compelled. On the other hand, the 
compulsion of which we speak restores complete personal 
freedom when education is finished, and can have none 
but the most salutary results. It is true that even mili 
tary service was formerly voluntary ; but, when it was 
discovered that this was not sufficient for the purpose 
intended, we did not scruple to back it up by compulsion, 
because the matter was sufficiently important for us, 
and necessity demanded compulsion. If only in regard 
to education, too, our eyes were opened to our need and 
the matter became as important to us, that hesitation 
would vanish of itself ; especially as compulsion will be 
needed only in the first generation and will vanisTTin the 
next, which will itself have passed through this education. 
Moreover, compulsory military service, too, will thereby 
be ended, because those who are thus educated are all 
equally willing to bear arms for their fatherland. Even 
if, in order not to have too much of an outcry at the 
beginning, it is desirable to limit this compulsion to public 
education in the same way as compulsion to military 
service has hitherto been limited, and to exclude from the 
former the classes that are exempt from the latter, no 
serious harm will result. The intelligent parents among 
those exempted will voluntarily hand over their children 
to this education. The children of the unintelligent 
parents of these classes, an insignificant minority, may 
continue to grow up as before. They will survive among 
the better generation that is to be created, and serve 


merely as a curious memorial of the past, and to encourage 
the new age to a vivid knowledge of its greater good 

171. Now, this education is to be national education 
of the Germans simply ; and the great majority of those 
who speak the German language, and not just the citizens 
of this or that particular German State only, are to exist 
as a new race of men. Every German State, therefore, 
must undertake this task for itself, and independently 
of all the others. The language in which this matter 
was first mentioned, in which the means thereto are and 
will be written, in which the teachers are trained, the 
one vein of sensuous imagery that permeates all this is 
common to all Germans. I can scarcely imagine how and 
with what changes all these means of education, especially 
to the full extent of our scheme, could be translated into 
the language of any foreign country so as to seem, not 
an alien transplanted thing, but a native product arising 
from the very life of its language. For all Germans 
alike this difficulty is removed ; for them the thing is 
ready ; they need only avail themselves of it. 

172. In this respect it is well for us, indeed, that there 
are various German States separated from one another. 
What has so often been to our disadvantage may perhaps 
in this important national business serve to our advantage. 
The rivalry of several States and the desire to anticipate 
one another may perhaps bring about what the calm 
self-sufficiency of the single State would not produce. 
For it is clear that, whichever German State makes a start 
in this matter, that State will win for itself the chief 
place in the respect, love, and gratitude of all, and will 
rank as the greatest benefactor and the true founder of 
the nation. It will encourage the others, set them an 
instructive example, and be their model. It will remove 


doubts which hold the others fast. It will produce the 
textbooks and the first teachers, and lend them to the 
others. The State that follows it next will win the second 
place of honour. There is gratifying evidence that among 
the Germans the taste for higher things has never quite 
died out, for several German peoples and States have 
striven with one another for the honour of having the 
higher culture. Some have claimed to have more exten 
sive freedom of the press and greater disregard for tradi 
tional opinion, others better organized schools and 
universities ; some have cited former glory and merit, 
others something else ; and the strife could not be de 
cided. On the present occasion it will be decided. 
Only that education which dares to make itself universal 
and to include all men without distinction is a real part 
of life and is sure of itself. Any other is foreign trimming, 
put on simply for show and not even worn with right good 
conscience. It will now be revealed where the boasted 
culture exists only in a few people of the middle class, 
who show it in their writings (and such people are to be 
found in every German State), and where, on the other 
hand, it has reached also the higher classes who advise 
the State. Then it will be shown, too, how one has to 
judge the zeal displayed here and there for the erection 
and welfare of institutions for higher education ; whether 
the motive was pure love of educating mankind, which 
would indeed treat with equal zeal every branch of educa 
tion and especially the very first foundation, or mere 
passion for showing off and, perhaps, paltry schemes for 
making money. 

173. The first German State to carry out this pro 
posal will, I said, have the greatest glory. Yet it will 
not long stand alone, but will doubtless soon find imi 
tators and rivals. The important thing is to make a 


start. Even if there were no other motive, a sense of 
honour, or jealousy, or the desire to have what another 
possesses and, if possible, to have it in a better form, will 
spur on the rest to follow the example one after the other. 
Then, too, the above-mentioned considerations concerning 
the State s own advantage, which perhaps seem doubtful 
to many just now, will become more obvious, once they 
are proved by personal observation. 

If it could be expected that every German State would " 
at once, and from this very hour, make serious prepara 
tions to carry out that scheme, the better generation that 
we need would be in existence in twenty-five years, and 
anyone who might expect to live so long could hope to 
see it with his own eyes. 

174. But we must also take this contingency into } 
account. Among all the German States that now exist, j 
there might not be a single one which had among its i 
highest advisers a man capable of understanding, and of 
being affected by, all that has been mentioned above, 
and in which the majority of the counsellors did not at 
any rate oppose him. In that case, of course, this business 
would devolve upon well-disposed private persons, and 
it would be desirable that they should make a start with 
the proposed new education. We have in mind here, 
first of all, great landowners, who could establish on their 
estates such educational institutions for the children of 
their dependents. It is to Germany s credit, and a very 
honourable mark of distinction from the other nations 
of modern Europe, that among the class mentioned there 
have always been some here and there, who made it 
their serious business to care for the instruction and 
education of the children on their estates, and were 
gladly willing to do for them to the best of their know 
ledge. It is to be hoped that they will now be inclined 


to inform themselves about the complete scheme that is 
offered them, and be just as willing to do now on a large 
scale and thoroughly what they have hitherto done on a 
small scale and imperfectly. It may be that some of 
them did what they did partly because they saw that it 
was more profitable for them to have educated, rather 
than uneducated, dependents. In those cases where the 
State, by abolishing the relationship of serf and lord, 
has now removed the latter motive, may it bear in mind 
the more earnestly that it is its essential duty at the same 
time not to do away with the one blessing which, where 
the lords were well-disposed, was attached to that 
relationship ! May the State in this case not fail to do 
that which, apart from this, is its duty, when it has 
released therefrom those who did it voluntarily in its 
stead ! Then, in regard to the cities, we look to volun 
tary associations formed for that purpose by well-disposed 
citizens. So far as I have been able to see, no burden 
of misery has ever yet extinguished in German hearts 
the impulse to do good. Yet, owing to a number of 
faults in our institutions, which could all be included 
under the one head of neglected education, these good 
works seldom remove misery, but seem, indeed, often to 
increase it. May we at last direct that excellent impulse 
chiefly towards the good work which puts an end to all 
misery and to all need of further good works the good 
work of education. Yet we need, and count upon, a 
blessing and sacrifice of another kind, which consists, 
not in giving, but in doing and acting. May budding 
scholars, whose position allows it, dedicate the time 
between their departure from the university and their 
appointment to a public post to the business of receiving 
instruction in these institutions concerning this method 
of teaching, and of teaching in them ! Apart from the 


fact that they will thereby deserve well of the community, 
we can assure them that they will themselves gain very 
much. All the knowledge which they carry away with 
them from the usual university teaching, and which is 
often so dead, will become clear and living in the atmos 
phere of general observation into which they come here. 
They will learn to reproduce and use their knowledge 
with skill. Since all the features of mankind appear 
pure and clear in the child, they will acquire a store of 
true knowledge of mankind that alone deserves the name ; 
they will be introduced to the great art of life and action, 
in which the university usually gives no instruction. 

175. If the State does not undertake the proffered task/ 
so much the greater glory for the private persons who do. 
Far be it from us to anticipate the future with surmises, 
or strike the note of doubt and distrust. We have stated 
clearly what we wish for first. We may, however, be- 
permitted to say that, if the State and the princes should 
in fact leave the matter to private persons, this would be 
in accordance with the usual course of German develop- 
ment and culture, which has been already mentioned 
and proved by examples, and which would continue so 
to the end. In this case, too, the State will follow in 
its own time ; at first like an individual, wanting just 
to do its part, until later it reflects that it is not a part, 
but the whole, and that it is its duty, as well as its right, - 
to care for the whole. From that moment onwards, all 
the independent efforts of private persons cease and are 
subordinated to the State s general scheme. 

Should the matter take this course, the intended refor 
mation of our race will certainly proceed but slowly, and 
without the possibility of a definite and fixed survey and 
estimate of the whole. But let us not be deterred by this 
from making a start ! It is the very nature of the thing 


that it can never perish, but, once set in motion, it lives 
on of itself and spreads, ever gaining fresh ground. Every 
one who has received this education becomes a witness 
for it and a zealous propagator. Everyone will pay his 
debt for the teaching received by becoming a teacher 
himself, and by making as many disciples as he can, who 
will also in turn some day become teachers. This must 
continue until the whole community without exception 
is affected. 

176. If the State should not undertake the matter, 
private enterprise has this to fear ; that those parents 
who are at all well-to-do will not give up their children 
to this education. In that case, in God s name let 
us turn with full confidence to the poor orphans, to 
the wretched street-children, and to all those whom 
the adult world has cast out and rejected. Formerly, 
especially in those German States where the piety of 
ancestors had greatly increased and richly endowed the 
public educational institutions, many parents let their 
families have instruction, because along with it, as in 
no other occupation, they found maintenance at the same 
time. Let us, therefore, since it is necessary, reverse 
this order, and give bread to those to whom no one else 
gives it, in order that, along with the bread, they may 
receive mental culture also. Let us not fear that the 
misery and wildness of their former condition will hinder 
our purpose ! If only we snatch them away from it 
suddenly and completely, bring them into an entirely 
new world, and leave nothing to remind them of the past, 
they will themselves forget and be like newly-created 
beings. Our course of instruction and daily routine 
must guarantee that only good is engraven on this clean 
new tablet. It will be a testimony against our age and 
a warning to all posterity if the very ones whom it has 


rejected obtain through this rejection the sole privilege 
of founding a new race, if they bring the blessing of educa 
tion to the children of those who would not mix with 
them, and if they become the ancestors of our future 
heroes, sages, lawgivers, and saviours of mankind. 

177. For the first establishment capable teachers and 
educators above all are needed. Pestalozzi s school has 
trained such people, and is always ready to train more. 
An important thing to keep in mind at the beginning 
will be that every institution of the kind should regard 
itself also as a training school for teachers, where, round 
the teachers who are already trained, a number of young 
men may gather to learn and, at the same time, to practise 
teaching, and by practice to learn it better and better. 
This, too, will greatly facilitate the supply of teachers, 
in case the institutions have at first to struggle against 
poverty. Most of them will be there to learn ; let the 
sole return asked of them be to apply for a time what they 
have learnt to the benefit of the institution where they 
learnt it. 

Moreover, such an institution needs a building, initial 
equipment, and an adequate piece of land. It seems 
evident that, as these institutions develop, they will 
contain a relatively large number of growing youths of 
an age at which, under the existing arrangement, they 
earn as servants not only their maintenance but also a 
yearly wage. To these the children of more tender 
age can be entrusted, and by diligence and wise economy, 
which in any case are necessary, these institutions will 
be mainly self-supporting. At first, so long as there are 
none of these older pupils, the institutions will need rather 
large contributions. It is to be hoped that people will 
be more disposed to make contributions, when they see 
the prospect of an end to them. Let us not be parsi- 


monious, and so prejudice the aim. It is far better that 
we should do nothing at all than permit this. 

My opinion, therefore, is that, goodwill alone pre 
supposed, the realization of this scheme presents no 
difficulty that could not easily be overcome by the com 
bination of several people, and by the directing of all 
their strength to this one purpose. 



178. THE education which we propose to the Germans 
as their future national education has now been suffi 
ciently described. When once the generation that has 
been formed by this education is in existence a genera 
tion impelled by its taste for the right and the good and 
by nothing else whatever ; a generation provided with an 
understanding that is adequate for its standpoint and 
recognizes the right unfailingly on every occasion ; a 
generation equipped with full power, both physical and 
spiritual, to carry out its will on every occasion when 
once this generation is in existence, everything that we 
can long for in our boldest wishes will come into being 
of itself from the very existence of that generation, and 
will grow out of it naturally. That age is in so little 
need of any rules we can make for its guidance that we 
should rather have to learn from it. 

Since this generation is in the meantime not in exis 
tence, but must first be raised up by education, and since, 
even if everything else should go on excellently and beyond 
our expectation, we shall nevertheless require a consider 
able interval before we pass over to that new age, the 
more urgent question arises : How are we to manage to 
get through this interval ? Since we can do nothing 



better, how are we to maintain ourselves at any rate as the 
soil on which the improvement may take place, and as 
the point of departure at which this improvement may 
begin its work ? When once the generation formed in 
this way emerges from its seclusion and appears among 
us, how are we to prevent it from finding among us actual 
conditions that have not the slightest relationship to 
the order of things which it has conceived as embodying 
the right actual conditions under which no one under 
stands it or has the slightest wish for, or need of, such 
an order of things, but, on the contrary, regards the 
existing state of things as entirely natural and the only 
one possible ? Would not those who have another world 
in their hearts soon become confused ; and in this case 
would not the new education be just as useless for the 
improvement of actual life as the former education, 
and lose its savour in the same way ? 

179. If the majority of people continue in their 
previous state of heedlessness, thoughtlessness, and lack 
of concentration, this very result may be expected as 
inevitable. He who lets himself go without paying heed 
to himself, and allows himself to be moulded by circum 
stances just as they please, soon accustoms himself to any 
possible order of things. However much his eye may 
have been offended by something when he first saw it, let 
it only present itself anew every day in .the same way and 
he accustoms himself to it. Later, he finds it natural, 
and in the end he even gets to like it as something inevit 
able ; he would not thank you for the restoration of 
the original and better state of things, because this would 
tear him out of the mode of life to which he has become 
accustomed. In this way men become accustomed even 
to slavery, if only their material existence is not thereby 
affected, and in time they get to like it. It is just this 


that is the most dangerous thing about a state of subjection; 
it makes men insensitive to all true honour, and, more 
over, for the indolent man it has its very pleasant side, 
because it relieves him of many a care and of the need 
of thinking for himself. 

1 80. Let us be on our guard against being taken un 
awares by this sweetness of servitude, for it robs even our 
posterity of the hope of future emancipation. If our 
external activity is restricted and fettered, let us elevate 
our spirit all the more boldly to the thought of freedom ; 
let us rise to live in this thought and make it the sole 
object of our wish and longing. What if freedom dis 
appear for a time from the visible world ? Let us give 
it a place of refuge in our innermost thoughts, until 
there shall grow up round about us the new world which 
has the power of manifesting our thoughts outwardly. 
In the sphere where no one can deprive us of the freedom 
to do as we think best in our own minds let us make 
ourselves a pattern, a prophecy, and a guarantee of that 
which will become a reality when we are gone. Let us 
not allow our spirit, as well as our body, to be bent and 
subjected and brought into captivity. 

181. If you ask me how this is to be brought about, 
the only entirely comprehensive answer is this : We must 
at once become what we ought to be in any case, 
namely, Germans. We are not to subject our spirit ; 
therefore we must before all things provide a spirit for 
ourselves, and a firm and certain spirit ; we must become 
earnest in all things and not go on existing frivolously, as 
if life were a jest ; we must form for ourselves enduring and\ 
unshakable principles which will serve as a sure guide \ 
for all the rest of our thoughts and actions. Life and 
thought with us must be of one piece and a solid and\ 
interpenetrating whole ; in both we must live according 


to nature and truth, and throw away foreign contrivances ; 
in a word, we must provide character for ourselves ; for 
to have character and to be German [Charakter haben 
und deutsch sein] undoubtedly mean the same ; and the 
thing has no special name in our language, because it is 
intended to proceed immediately from our very existence 
without any knowledge or reflection on our part. 

182. We must first of all set our own thoughts to 
work and think about the great events of our days, their 
relation to us, and what we have to expect from them ; 
and we must provide ourselves with a firm and clear view 
of all these matters, and a definite and unchangeable Yes 
or No in answer to the questions that arise out of them. 
Everyone who makes the slightest claim to culture is 
bound to do that. The animal life of man proceeds in 
all ages according to the same laws, and in this every 
age is alike. Only to the understanding are there such 
things as different ages ; and only the man whose conception 
penetrates them lives in them, and only he exists in his 
own age ; any other kind of life is nothing but the life 
of plants and animals. To let everything that happens 
pass by one unperceived, perhaps to close eye and ear 
diligently to its urgent message, and even to boast of such 
thoughtlessness as if it were great wisdom this may be 
the proper thing for a rock on which the waves of the 
sea beat without its feeling them, or for a tree-trunk 
dashed to and fro by storms without its perceiving them ; 
but in no wise does it beseem a thinking being. Even the 
thinker who dwells in the higher spheres is not absolved 
from this general obligation of understanding his own 
age. Everything that is on the higher plane must want 
to influence the immediate present in its own fashion ; 
and he who truly lives in the former lives at the same 
time in the latter also ; if he did not live in the latter 


also, it would be a proof that he did not live in the 
former either, but only dreamed in it. That lack of heed 
to what is going on before our eyes, and the artful dis 
traction to other objects of the attention that is everywhere 
aroused, would be the best thing that an enemy of our 
independence could wish to find. If he is sure that 
nothing will set us thinking, he can do anything he wishes 
with us, as if we were lifeless tools. It is precisely this 
thoughtlessness that accustoms itself to anything ; but 
where clear and comprehensive thought, and in that 
thought the image of what ought to be, always remains 
watchful, there is no question of becoming accustomed 
to such things. 

183. These addresses have in the first place invited you, 
and they will invite the whole German nation, in so far 
as it is possible at the present time to assemble the nation 
around a speaker by means of the printed book, to come 
to a definite decision and to be at one with themselves 
in their own minds on the following questions : 

(1) Whether it is true or untrue that there is a German 
nation, and that its continued existence in its peculiar 
and independent nature is at the present time in danger ; 

(2) Whether it is worth the trouble, or not worth the 
trouble, to maintain this nation ; 

(3) Whether there is any sure and thorough means of 
maintaining it, and what this means is. 

184. It was hitherto a custom of long standing among 
us that, when any earnest word was uttered, either to 
an audience or in print, those who never got beyond 
polite conversation took possession of the word and 
transformed it into an amusing subject of talk to relieve 
their boredom. Now, I have not noticed, as I have on 
former occasions, that those around me have made such 
a use of the addresses I am now delivering ; but I have not 



acquainted myself with the current tone of the social 
gatherings in the field of books I mean the literary 
papers and other journals and I do not know whether 
they may be expected to take me in joke or in earnest. 
However this may be, it has at any rate not been my 
intention to joke, or to set in motion once more the wit 
which this age of ours is known to possess. 

185. A custom that took deeper root among us and 
became almost second nature so much so that not to 
observe it was almost unheard-of was that the Germans 
regarded the introduction of any topic as an invitation to 
everyone who had a mouth to have his own say about it, 
quickly and on the spot, and to inform us whether he was 
of the same opinion or not ; and when the vote had been 
taken in this way the whole thing was over, and public 
conversation felt bound to proceed with haste to another 
subject. In this way all literary discussion among the 
Germans transformed itself, like Echo in the ancient 
fable, into nothing but pure sound, without any body 
or bodily substance. We know how it is in the personal 
intercourse of third-rate society, and so it was in this 
literary fellowship ; the only thing that mattered was 
that the human voice should go on sounding, and that 
each one should take up the ball of conversation and with 
out a pause throw it to his neighbour ; but what was said 
did not matter in the least. Now, if that is not being 
without character and un-German, what is ? Nor has 
it been my intention to do homage to this custom and 
merely keep alive public discussion. I have long ago 
sufficiently performed my own share in this public 
conversation though only incidentally, my purpose 
having been different and I think I might at last be 
absolved from any further contribution. I do not want to 
know on the spot what A or B thinks about the questions 


that have been raised here, i.e., what he has hitherto 
thought about them, or not thought. He must consider 
it for himself and think deeply about it, until his judg 
ment is ready and completely clear, and he must take 
the necessary time for that purpose ; if he is still lacking 
in the requisite preliminary knowledge, and in the full 
degree of culture that is required before a judgment 
can be formed in these matters, he must further take time 
to make good these deficiencies. If anyone has his 
judgment ready and clear in this way, we do not exactly 
insist that he shall deliver it publicly. Should it agree 
with what has been said here well, it has been said 
already and does not need saying twice. Only he who 
can say something different and better is called upon to 
speak. On the other hand, what has been said here 
must be really lived and put into practice by each one 
in his own way and according to his own circumstances. 

1 86. Least of all, in conclusion, has it been my inten 
tion to lay these addresses as an exercise in composition 
before our German masters of doctrine and writing, so 
that they may correct them and I may learn in this way 
what promise, if any, there is in my work. In this 
respect also plenty of good doctrine and advice has 
already been directed towards me and, if improvement 
were to be expected, it ought to have shown itself by now. 

187. No, my intention in the first place was to be a 
guide among the swarm of questions and investigations 
and the host of contradictory opinions concerning them, 
in which educated men among us have hitherto been 
tossed about, and to lead as many men as I could to a 
point where they might take a firm stand, to the point 
which concerns us most intimately the point of our own 
common interests. My intention was to bring them in 
this one matter to a firm opinion which might remain 


unshaken, and to a clearness in which they might really 

see their way. However much else might be a matter of 

! dispute among them, my intention was to unite them in 

\this one matter at least, and to make them of one mind. 

j It was my intention, finally, to bring this out as one 

certain characteristic of the German, viz., that he is a 

man who has appreciated the need of forming an opinion 

for himself about that which concerns Germans ; and to 

make it clear that a man who does not want to hear or to 

think anything about this subject may rightly be regarded, 

from now on, as not belonging to us. 

1 88. The creation of a firm opinion of this kind, and 
the association and mutual comprehension of divers 
persons on this subject, will do two things. It will be 
the direct means of redeeming our character, by removing 
that lack of concentration which is so unworthy of us, 
and at the same time it will become a powerful means 
of attaining our main object, the introduction of the new 
national education. It was just because we ourselves, 
individually and collectively, were never of one opinion, 
but wanted one thing to-day and something different 
tomorrow, and because each one made the clamour 
more confused by shouting something different it was 
for this reason that our governments, who to be sure 
listened to us, and often listened more attentively than 
was advisable, became confused and swayed to and fro 
just like our own opinion. If our common affairs are 
at last to pursue a firm and certain course, what is there 
to prevent us from beginning at once with ourselves and 
setting the example of firmness and decision ? When 
once a united and unchanging opinion makes itself heard, 
when a definite need announces itself as a general need and 
makes itself felt the need of a national education, as we 
assume it will be I am quite sure that our governments 


will listen to us ; they will help us, if we show the inclina 
tion to allow ourselves to be helped. At any rate, if 
they did not, we would then, and not before, have the 
right to complain about them ; at the present time, 
when our governments are pretty much as we want them 
to be, it ill becomes us to complain. 

189. Whether there is a sure and thorough means of 
preserving the German nation, and what this means may 
be, is the most important of the questions which I have 
submitted to this nation for decision. My object in 
answering the question, and in stating the reasons for my 
way of answering it, was not to say what the final judgment 
will be that could not be of any use, because everyone 
who is to have a hand in this matter must have convinced 
himself in his own mind by his own activity on the con 
trary, my object was only to stimulate men to reflect for 
themselves and form their own judgment. From this point 
onwards I must leave each man to settle it for himself. 
One warning I can give and nothing more ; do not 
let yourselves be deceived by the shallow and superficial 
thoughts which are in circulation even on this subject ; do 
not let yourselves be restrained from deep reflection, and 
do not accept the empty consolations that are offered. 

190. For example, long before the most recent events, 
we had to hear, in advance as it were, a saying which since 
then has frequently been repeated in our ears : that even 
if our political independence were lost we should still 
keep our language and our literature, and thereby always 
remain a nation ; so we could easily console ourselves for 
the loss of everything else. 

But, first of all, what basis is there for hoping that we 
shall keep our language even if we lose our political 
independence ? Surely those who say this do not 
ascribe this miraculous power to their own persuasions 


and admonitions when addressed to their children, their 
children s children, and to all the centuries to come. 
Those men now living and mature, who have accustomed 
themselves to speaking, writing, and reading in the 
German language, will no doubt go on doing so ; but 
what will the next generation do, and, more important 
still, the third generation ? What counterpoise do we 
propose to place in the hearts of these generations that 
will hold the scale against their desire to please, by speech 
and writing, the race with which all glory rests and which 
has all favours to distribute ? Have we, then, never 
heard of a language l which is the first in the world, 
although it is known that the first works in that language 
are still to be written ; and do we not already see before 
our eyes that writings are appearing in it by whose con 
tents the authors hope to find favour ? The example of 
two other languages is brought forward in support, one 
of the ancient and one of the modern world, which, in 
spite of the political destruction of the peoples who spoke 
them, continued to exist as living languages. I do not 
intend even to examine the manner in which they have 
continued to exist ; but this much is clear at first sight, 
that both languages had something in them which ours 
does not possess, and by means of this they found favour 
with their conquerors, which our language can never 
find. If these vain comforters had looked about them 
better, they would have found another example which, 
in our opinion, is entirely to the point here, viz., the 
language of the Wends. This, too, has continued to 
exist during all the centuries in wriich the people that 
speaks it has been deprived of its freedom it exists, that 

1 [Fichte seems here to be referring ironically to French and to those 
Germans who were writing in that language in order to curry favour with 


is to say, in the wretched hovels of the serf bound to the 
soil, so that he may bemoan his fate in his own language 
which his oppressor does not understand. 

But let us suppose that our language remains a living 
and a literary language and so preserves its literature ; 
what sort of literature can that be, the literature of a 
people without political independence ? What does a" 
sensible writer want, and what can he want ? Nothing 
else but to influence public life and the life of all, and to 
form and reshape it according to his vision ; and if he 
does not want to do this, everything he says is empty 
sound to tickle the ears of the indolent. He wants to 
think originally and from the root of spiritual life for 
those who act just as originally, i.e., govern. He can, 
therefore, only write in a language in which the governors 
think, in a language in which the work of government 
is carried on, in the language of a people that forms an 
independent State. For what is the ultimate aim of all 
our efforts even in regard to the most abstract sciences ? 
Admitting that the immediate objects of these efforts is 
to propagate the science from generation to generation 
and to maintain it in the world, the question arises : 
Why should it be maintained ? Obviously only in order 
to shape the life of all and the whole human order of 
things when the right time comes. That is its ultimate 
object ; hence, every effort in science indirectly serves the 
State, though it may be only in a remote future. If it 
abandons this aim, it loses its worth and its independence. 
But he who sets this aim before him must write in the 
language of the dominant race. 

191. Just as it is true beyond doubt that, wherever a[ 
separate language is found, there a separate nation exists, \ 
which has the right to take independent charge of its 
affairs and to govern itself ; so one can say, on the other 


hand, that, where a people has ceased to govern itself, it 
is equal]y bound to give up its language and to coalesce 
with its conquerors, in order that there may be unity 
and internal peace and complete oblivion of relationships 
which no longer exist. Even a semi-intelligent leader of 
such a mixture of races must insist on this ; and we may 
be quite sure that in our case the insistence will not be 
lacking. Until this amalgamation has taken place, 
approved school-books will be translated into the lan 
guage of the barbarians, i.e., those who are too stupid to 
learn the language of the dominant race, and who thereby 
exclude themselves from all influence on public affairs 
and condemn themselves to lifelong subjection. These 
persons, who have sentenced themselves to silence con 
cerning actual events, will be permitted to exercise their 
oratorical skill on the disputes of a fictitious world, or to 
imitate in their own way obsolete and ancient forms ; 
proofs of the former condition may be found in the case 
of the ancient language that was cited above as an example, 
and of the latter in the case of the modern language. 
Such a literature we might perhaps retain for some time 
yet ; and with such a literature let him console himself 
who has no better consolation. But, as to those who 
might be capable of playing the man, of seeing the truth, 
and of becoming aroused by the sight of it to decision 
and action that they should be kept in indolent slumber 
by such a worthless consolation, which would be the very 
thing to serve the purpose of an enemy of our independence, 
that is what I should like to prevent if I could. 

192. So we are promised the continuance of a German 
literature for future generations ! In order to form a 
better judgment of the hopes that we can entertain in 
this matter, it would be very profitable to look about us 
and see whether we still have at this moment a German 


literature in the true sense of the word. The noblest 
privilege and the most sacred function of the man of 
letters is this : to assemble his nation and to take counsel 
with it about its most important affairs. But especially 
in Germany this has always been the exclusive function 
of the man of letters, because Germany was split up into 
several separate States, and was held together as a common 
whole almost solely by the instrumentality of the man of 
letters, by speech and writing. In the most special and 
urgent way does it become his function at the present 
time, now that the last external bond which united the 
Germans, the imperial constitution, has also been de 
stroyed. If it should now be evident we are not speaking 
here of something we know or fear, but only of a possible 
case, which we must nevertheless take into consideration 
in advance if it should, I say, be evident that State 
officials in the separate States were already so obsessed by 
anxiety, fear, and terror, that they first forbade such 
voices to make themselves heard or prohibited the 
spreading of the message, voices which assumed that a 
nation was still in existence and addressed themselves 
to it ; then, that would be a proof that we already had 
no German men of letters at work, and w r e should know 
what our prospects would be for any literature in the 

193. Now, what could it be that these people are 
afraid of ? Perhaps that this man or that will not be 
pleased to hear voices of that kind. Then, at any rate 
they would have chosen the time badly for their tender 
consideration. Pamphlets libelling and degrading the 
fatherland, insipid praises of what is foreign, they are 
plainly unable to prevent ; then let them not be so strict 
against a word for the fatherland which makes itself rjprd 
in between. It is quite possible that all are not equally 


willing to hear all things ; but at this time we cannot 
concern ourselves with that ; we are urged on by necessity, 
and we must say just what necessity orders us to say. 
We are fighting for life ; do they want us to walk delicately, 
lest some robe of state be covered with the dust we may 
raise ? We are sinking in the water-floods ; are we to 
refrain from calling for help, lest some weak-nerved 
neighbour may be alarmed ? 

194. For, who are they who might not like to hear it, 
and on what condition might they not like to hear it ? 
In every case it is only obscurity and darkness which 
cause alarm. Every terrifying vision vanishes when one 
gazes at it firmly. With the same unconcern and direct 
ness, with which we have hitherto analysed every subject 
that has occurred in these addresses, let us look this 
terror, too, in the face. 

We must assume either that the being 1 to whom at the 
present time the conduct of a great part of the world s 
affairs has fallen is a truly great soul, or we must assume 
the contrary ; no third assumption is possible. In the 
first case : on what is all human greatness based, if not 
on the independence and originality of the person and 
on the fact that the person is not an artificial product of 
his age, but a growth out of the eternal and spontaneous 
spirit-world, which has grown up just as it is ? Is not 
greatness based on the fact that to one person a new and 
individual view of the universe has dawned, and that this 
person has the firm will and the iron strength to impose 
his view on the actual world ? But it is quite impossible 
for such a soul not to honour in peoples and individuals 
external to himself that in which his own internal great 
ness consists, viz., independence, constancy, and indivi 
duality of existence. In proportion as the great soul feels 

1 [Napoleon.] 


sure of his own greatness and trusts thereto, he disdains to 
rule over a people with a wretched servile spirit or to be a 
giant among dwarfs ; he disdains the thought that he must 
first degrade men in order to rule over them ; he is oppressed 
by the sight of degeneration round about him. Not to 
be able to respect men causes him pain ; but every 
thing that elevates and ennobles his brother men and 
places them in a worthier light is a cause of satisfaction to 
his own noble spirit and is his greatest delight. Are we 
to believe that such a soul would note with displeasure 
that the upheavals which the present times have brought 
about are being used to arouse an ancient and honourable 
nation from its deep slumber a nation that is the stem 
from which most of the peoples of modern Europe have 
sprung, and which is the creator of them all and to induce 
it to lay hold of a sure means of preservation in order to 
raise itself from ruin a means which ensures at the same 
time that it will never sink again, and that it will raise 
all the other peoples along with itself ? We are here not 
inciting people to riotous measures ; we are rather warning 
people against them as sure to lead to ruin. We are , 
pointing out a firm and unchangeable foundation, on 
which the highest and purest morality, such as was never 
yet seen among men, may be built up at last for the world 
in one people and assured for all time to come, and which 
may thence be spread abroad among all other peoples. 
We are pointing the way to a regeneration of the human 
race, a way to turn earthly and sensuous creatures into 
pure and noble spirits. Does anyone think that such a 
proposal could be felt as an insult by a mind that is itself 
pure and noble and great, or by anyone who forms him 
self after that pattern ? 

What, on the other hand, would be the assumption 
of those who entertained this fear and admitted it by 


their actions, and what would they proclaim to all the 
world as their assumption ? They would acknowledge 
that they believed we were ruled over by an enemy of 
mankind, by a very base and petty Principle, alarmed by 
every stirring of independent strength and unable to 
hear of morality, religion, or ennoblement of souls without 
anxiety; because nothing but the degradation of men, 
their stupor, and their vices would make his position 
safe and give him hope of maintaining himself. With 
this belief of theirs, which would add to our other miseries 
the crushing shame of being ruled over by such a man as 
this, are we now forthwith to proclaim ourselves in agree 
ment, and are we to act in accordance with it before we 
have clear proof that it is true ? 

Let us suppose the worst : that they are in the right 
and not we, who show by our action that we make the 
former assumption. Is, then, the human race really to 
be degraded and to go under as a favour to one man who 
profits by the fall and to those who are afraid ? Is one, 
whose heart bids him do it, not to be allowed to warn 
them of destruction ? Suppose, not only that they were 
in the right, but that one should resolve, in the sight of 
this generation and of posterity, to admit that they were 
right and to deliver aloud on one s self the judgment 
just expressed ; what, then, would be the greatest 
ultimate consequence for the unwelcome warner ? Do 
they know anything greater than death ? This awaits us 
all in any case, and from the beginning of humanity 
noble souls have defied the danger of death for the sake 
of less important matters for when was there ever a 
higher matter than the present one ? Who has the right 
to intervene in an undertaking that is begun with full 
knowledge of this danger ? 

195. Should there be such people though I hope not 


among us Germans, they would offer their necks without 
invitation, without thanks, and, as I hope, without find 
ing acceptance, to the yoke of spiritual serfdom. They 
would bitterly revile their own country in flattering its 
oppressor ; they would think that diplomatic, for they 
do not know the mind of true greatness, but measure its 
thoughts by the thoughts suggested by their own petti 
ness ; thus they would make use of literature, for which 
they know no other use, to pay their court by slaughtering 
it as a sacrificial victim. We, on the other hand, praise 
the greatness of the soul, with whom power lies, much 
more by the fact of our confidence and our courage than 
words could ever do. Throughout the entire domain of 
the whole German language, wherever our voice rings out 
free and unrestrained, it thus invokes Germans by the 
very fact of its existence : No one wants your oppression, 
your servility, your slavish subjection ; but your indepen 
dence, your true freedom, your elevation, and your 
ennoblement are wanted ; for it is not forbidden to discuss 
these things openly with you and to show you the infall 
ible means of attaining them. If this voice finds a hear 
ing and has the result intended, it will set up a memorial 
of this greatness, and of our faith in it, for all centuries 
to come a memorial which time cannot destroy, but 
which will grow greater, and spread more widely, with each 
new generation. Who dares to set himself against the 
attempt to erect such a memorial ? 

So, instead of consoling ourselves for the loss of our 
independence with the promise of a period of bloom for 
our literature in the future, and instead of allowing our 
selves to be deterred by consolations of that kind from 
seeking a means to restore our independence, we prefer 
to ask whether those Germans, to whom a kind of guardian 
ship of literature has fallen, still allow, even in these days, 


a literature in the true sense of the word to the other 
Germans who themselves write and read, and whether 
they consider that such a literature is still allowed in 
Germany or not. But some decision will shortly have 
to be made as to what they really think about it. 

196. After all, the first thing that we have to do, in 
order merely to maintain ourselves in existence until the 
time comes for the complete and thorough regeneration 
of our race, is this ; to provide ourselves with character, 
and to prove it first of all by thinking for ourselves and 
so forming a firm opinion of our true situation and of 
the sure means of improving it. The worthlessness of 
the consolation to be derived from the continued exis 
tence of our language and literature has been demon 
strated. There are, however, other delusive views which 
have not yet been mentioned in these addresses, and which 
hinder the formation of that firm opinion. It is appro 
priate to our purpose to consider these views as well ; 
but we reserve this subject for the next address. 



197. AT the end of the preceding address we said that 
there were in circulation among us a number of worth 
less thoughts and deceptive theories as to the affairs of 
peoples, and that this prevented the Germans from 
forrrftng such a definite view of their present situation 
as would .be in accordance with their own special char 
acteristics. As these vain phantoms are being held up 
for public veneration with great zeal just at present, and 
as they might be embraced by many people now that so 
much else has begun to topple over, solely in order to fill 
up the places that have become vacant, it seems appro 
priate to our purpose to subject these phantoms to a 
more serious examination than their intrinsic importance 
would deserve. 

198. To begin with and before all things : the first7 
original, and truly natural boundaries of States are 
beyond doubt their internal boundaries. Those who 
speak the same language are joined to each other by a 
multitude of invisible bonds by nature herself, long 
before any human art begins ; they understand each other 

1 [Fichte s manuscript of this address, after having received the 
imprimatur at the censor s office in Berlin, was mislaid and lost. As Fichte 
had meanwhile burnt the loose sheets which he had used in preparing the 
address, he was compelled to rewrite it as best he could.] 



j and have the power of continuing to make themselves 
understood more and more clearly ; they belong to 
gether and are by nature one and an inseparable whole. 
Such a whole, if it wishes to absorb and mingle with itself 
any other people of different descent and language, cannot 
do so without itself becoming confused, in the beginning 
at any rate, and violently disturbing the even progress 
ofJts__jui!t^er^ > From this internal boundary, which is 

/ drawn by the spiritual nature of man himself, the marking 
of the external boundary by dwelling-place results as 
a consequence ; and in the natural view of things it is 
not because men dwell between certain mountains and 
rivers that they are a people, but, on the contrary, men 
dwell together and, if their luck has so arranged it, 
are protected by rivers and mountains because ( they 
were a people already by a law of nature which is much 

199. Thus was the German nation placed sufficiently 
united within itself by a common language and a common 
way of thinking, and sharply enough severed from the 
other peoples in the middle of Europe, as a wall to 
divide races not akin. The German nation was numerous 
and brave enough to protect its boundaries against 
any foreign attack ; it was left to itself, and by its whole 
way of thinking was little inclined to take notice of the 
neighbouring peoples, to interfere in their affairs, or to 
provoke them to enmity by disturbances. As time went 
on, a kind fortunejpreserved it fcom-dixect participation 
in the Conquest of other worlds that event which, more 
than any other7~has been the basis of the development 
taken by modern world-history, of the fates of peoples, 
and of the largest part of their ideas and opinions. Since 
that event, and not before, Christian Europe, which 
hitherto, without being clearly conscious of it, had been 


one, and by joint enterprises had shown itself to be one 
Christian Europe, I say, split itself into various separate 
parts. Since that event, and not before, there was a 
prey in sight which anyone might obtain ; and each one 
lusted after it in the same way, because all were able to 
make use of it in the same way ; and each one was envious 
on seeing it in the hands of another. Now, and not 
before, was there a reason for secret enmity and lust for 
war on the part of all against all. Moreover, now, and 
not before, did.it_become profitable for peoples to incor 
porate with themselves peoples of other descent and other 
languages, by conquest or, if that were not possible, by 
alliances, and to appropriate their forces. A people 
that has remained true to nature may have the wish, 
when its abode becomes too narrow for it, to enlarge 
it by conquest of the neighbouring soil in order to gain 
more room, and then it will drive out the former inhabi 
tants. It may have the wish to exchange a harsh and 
unfruitful region for a milder and more fortunate one, 
and in this case, too, it will drive out the former owners. 
It may, if it should degenerate, undertake mere pillaging 
raids in which, without craving after the soil or its 
inhabitants, it merely takes possession of every useful 
thing, sweeps the countries clear and then departs. 
Finally, it may regard the former inhabitants of the 
conquered soil as one of the useful things and allot them 
as slaves to individuals. But, for it to attach to itself V 
as a component part of the State the foreign population I 
just as it is, that will not profit it in the least, and it will J 
never be tempted to do so. 

But if the case is thus : that there is a tempting com 
mon prey to be fought for and to be won from an equally 
strong or even stronger rival ; then the calculation is 
different. It matters not how much or how little the 



conquered people may blend with us ; we can at any 
rate make use of their fists to overcome the opponent 
we have to rob, and every man is welcome to us as an 
addition to our fighting strength. Now, suppose that 
some wise man, who wished for peace and quiet, had had 
his eyes opened to this state of affairs ; from what source 
could he expect quiet to come ? Obviously not from 
the limitation set by nature to human greed, viz., that 
superfluity is of no benefit to anyone ; for there was a 
prey which tempted everyone. Just as little could he 
expect peace to come from the will to set a limit to one s 
self ; for, where everyone grabs for himself everything 
that he can, anyone who limits himself must of necessity 
go under. No one wants to share with another what he 
then owns himself ; everyone wants to rob the other of 
what he has, if he possibly can. If one of them is quiet, 
it is only because he does not think himself strong enough 
to begin a quarrel ; he will certainly begin it as soon as 
he perceives the necessary strength in himself. 
Hence, the. only mean* of maintaining peace is this : 
that no one shall acquire enough power to be able to 
disturb the peace, and that each one shall know that 
there is just as much strength to resist on the other side 
as there is to attack on his side ; and that thus there 
may arise a balance and counterbalance of the total power, 
whereby alone, now that all other means have vanished, 
each one is kept in possession of what he has at present 
and all are kept in peace. This well-known system of 
a balance jrf power in Europe, therefore, assumes two 
things : first, a prey to which no one at all has any right, 
but for which all have a like desire ; and second, the 
universal, ever-present, and unceasingly active lust for 
booty. Indeed, on these assumptions, this balance of 
power would be the only means of maintaining peace, 


if only one could find the second means, namely, that of 
creating the equilibrium and transforming it from an 
empty thought into a thing of reality. 

200. But were these assumptions in fact to be made 
universally and without any exception ? Had not the 
mighty German nation, in the middle of Europe, kept 
its hands off this prey, and was it not untainted by any 
craving for it, and almost incapable of making a claim to 
it ? If only the German nation had remained united, ~ 
with a common will and a common strength ! Then, 
though the other Europeans might have wanted to murder 
each other on every sea and shore, and on every island 
too, in the middle of Europe the firm wall of the Germans 
would have prevented them from reaching each other. 
Here peace would have remained, and the Germans 
would have maintained themselves, and with themselves 
also a part of the other European peoples, in quiet and 

20 1- Thatjjiings should remain thus did not suit the 
selfishness of foreign countries, whose calculations did not 
look more than one moment ahead. They^found German 
bravery useful in waging their wars and German hands 
useful to snatch the booty from their rivals. A means ") 
had to be found to attain this end, and foreign cunning I 
won an easy victory over German ingenuousness and lack I 
of suspicion. It was foreign countries which first made 
use of the division of mind produced by religious disputes 
in Germany Germany, which presented on a small 

scale the features of Christian Europe as a whole 

foreign countries, I say, made use of these disputes to 
break up the close inner unity of Germany into separate 
and disconnected parts. Foreign countries had already., 
destroyed their own unity naturally, by splitting into] 
parts over a common prey ; and now they artificially 1 


destroyed German unity. Thev knew how to present 
each of these separate States that had thus arisen in the 
lap of the one nation which had no enemy except those 
foreign countries themselves, and no concern except the 
common one of setting itself with united strength against 
their seductive craft and cunning foreign countries, I say, 
knew how to present each of these States to the others as a 
natural enemy, against which each State must be perpetu 
ally on its guard. On the other hand, they knew how to 
make themselves appear to the German States as natural 
allies against the danger threatening them from their 
own countrymen as allies with whom alone they would 
themselves stand or fall, and whose enterprises they must 
in turn support with all their might. It was only be 
cause of this artificial bond that all the disputes which 
might arise about any matter whatever in the Old World 
or the New became disputes of the German races in their 
relation to each other. Every war, no matter what its 
cause, had to be fought out on German soil and with 
German blood ; every disturbance of the balance had 
to be adjusted in that nation to which the whole fountain- 
head of such relationships was unknown ; and the German 
States, whose separate existence was in itself contrary 
to all nature and reason, were compelled, in order ^that 
they might count for something, to act as make-weights 
to the chief forces in the scale of the European equili 
brium, whose movement they followed blindly and with 
out any will of their own. Just as in many States abroad 
the citizens are designated as belonging to this or that 
foreign party, or voting for this or that foreign alliance, 
but no name is found for those who belong to the party 
of their own country, so it was with the Germans ; for 
long enough they belonged only to some foreign party 
or other, and one seldom came across a man who sup- 


ported the party of the Germans and was of the opinion 
that this country ought to make an alliance with itself. 

202. This, then, is the true origin and meaning, this the 
result for Germany and for the world, of that notorious 
doctrine of a balance of power to be artificially main 
tained between the European States. If Christian Europe 
had remained one, as it ought to be and as it originally was, 
there would never have been any occasion to think of such 
a thing. That which is one rests upon itself and supports ! 
itself, and does not split up into conflicting forces which^ 
must be brought to an equilibrium. Only when Europe 
became divided and without a law did the thought 
of a balance acquire a meaning from necessity. To ^ 
this Europe, divided and without a law, Germany did not \ 
belong. If only Germany at any rate had remained onef^\ 
it would have rested on itself in the centre of the civilized / 
world like the sun in the centre of the universe ; it would jj 
have kept itself at peace, and with itself the adjacent 
countries ; and without any artificial measures it would 
have kept everything in equilibrium by the mere fact of 
its natural existence. It was only the deceit of foreign ~"j 
countries that dragged Germany into their own lawless- / 
ness and their own disputes ; it was they who taught I 
Germany the treacherous notion of the balance of power, I 
for they knew it to be one of the most effective means of; 
deluding Germany as to its own true advantage and of 
keeping it in that state of delusion. This aim is now 
sufficiently attained, and the result that was intended is 
now complete before our eyes. Even if we cannot do away 
with this result, why should we not at any rate extirpate 
the source of it in our own understanding, which is now 
almost the only thing over which we still have sovereign 
power ? Why should the old dream still be placed 
before our eyes, now that disaster has awakened us from 


sleep ? Why should we not now at any rate see the truth 
and perceive the only means that could have saved us ? 
Perhaps our descendants may dp what we see ought to 
be. done, just as we now suffer because our fathers dreamed. 
Let us understand that the conception of an equilibrium 
to be artificially maintained might have been a consoling 
dream for foreign countries amid the guilt and evil that 
oppressed them; but that this conception, being an entirely 
foreign product, ought never to have taken root in the mind 
of a German, and that the Germans ought never to have 
been so situated that it could take root among them. 
Let us understand that now at any rate we must perceive 
the utter worthlessness of such a conception, and must see 
that the salvation of all is to be found, not in it, but solely 
\ in the unity of the Germans among themselves. 

203. Just as foreign to the German is the freedom of 
the .seas, which is so frequently preached in our days, 
whether what is intended be real freedom or merely the 
power to exclude everyone else from it. Throughout the 
course of centuries, while all other nations were in rivalry, 
the German showed little desire to participate in this 
freedom to any great extent, and he will never do so. 
Moreover, he is Qot in need of it. The abundant supplies 
of his own land, together with his own diligence, afford 
him all that is needed in the life of a civilized man ; nor 
does he lack skill in the art of making his resources serve 
that purpose. As for acquiring the only true advantage 
that w r orld-trade brings in its train, viz., the increase 
in scientific knowledge of the earth and its inhabitants, 
his own scientific spirit will not let him lack a means of 
exchange. O, if only his kindly fortune had preserved 
the German from indirect participation in the booty of 
other worlds, as it preserved him from direct participa 
tion ! If only we had not been led by our credulity, 


and by the craving for a life as fine and as distingmeone 
as that of other peoples, to make necessaries of the waiof 
produced in foreign parts which we could do without ; 
if only we had made conditions tolerable for our free 
fellow-citizen in regard to the wares we can less easily 
do without, instead of wishing to draw a profit from the 
sweat and blood of a poor slave across the seas ! Then, 
at any rate, we should not ourselves have furnished the 
pretext for our present fate ; war would not have been 
waged against us as purchasers, nor would we have been 
ruined because we are a market-place. Almost ten years 
ago, before anyone could foresee what has since happened, 
Germans were advised l to make themselves inde 
pendent of world-trade, and to turn themselves into a 
closed commercial State. J This proposal ran counter to 
our habits, and especially to our idolatrous veneration 
of coined metals ; it was passionately attacked and 
thrust aside. Since then we have been learning, in 
dishonour and under the compulsion of a foreign power, 
to do without those things, and far more than those 
things, which we then protested we could not do with 
out, though we might have done so then in freedom 
and with the greatest honour to ourselves. O, that we 
might seize this opportunity, since enjoyment at least 
is not corrupting us, to correct our ideas once for all ! 
O, that we might at last see that all those swindling 
theories about world-trade and manufacturing for the 
world-market, though they suit the foreigner and form 
part of the weapons with which he has always made war 
on us, have no application to the Germans ; and that, 
next to the unity of the Germans among themselves, 
their internal autonomy and commercial independence 

1 [In 1800 by Fichtc himself, in Der geschlossene Handelsstaat (The 
Closed Commercial State).] 


r- the second means for their_sahation, andjthrough 
a nem for the salvation of Europe ! 

204. Now, at last, let us be bold enough to look at 
the deceptive vision of a universal jnonarchy, which 
people"ar^egmning~toTroI3"up for public veneration in 
place of that equilibrium which for some time has been 
growing more and more preposterous, and let us perceive 
how hateful and contrary to reason that vision is. Spiri 
tual nature was able to present the essence of humanity 
in extremely diverse gradations in individuals and in 
individuality as a whole, in peoples. Only when each 
people, left to itself, develops and forms itself in accord 
ance with its own peculiar quality, and only when in 
every people each individual develops himself in accord 
ance with that common quality, as well as in accordance 
with his own peculiar quality then, and then only, 
does the manifestation of divinity appear in its true 
mirror as it ought to be ; and only a man who either 
entirely lacks the notion of the rule of law and divine 
order, or else is an obdurate enemy thereto, could take 
upon himself to want to interfere with that law, which 
is the highest law in the spiritual world. Only in the 
invisible qualities of nations, which are hidden from 
their own eyes qualities as the means whereby these 
nations remain in touch with the source of original 
life only therein is to be found the guarantee of their 
present and future worth, virtue, and merit. If these 
qualities are dulled by admixture and worn away by 
friction, the L flatness ~l:hat results will bring about a 
separation from spiritual nature, and this in its turn will 
cause all men to be fused together to their uniform and 
conjoint destruction. As for the writers who console us 
for alf our ills with the prospect that we, too, shall be 
subjects of the new universal monarchy that is beginning 


are we to believe them when they say that someone 
or other has decided upon such a grinding together of 
all the germs of what is human in humanity, in order to 
press the unresisting dough into some new form, and 
that so monstrous an act of brutality or enmity against 
the human race is possible in this age of ours ? Even 
if, in the first place, we were willing to make up our 
minds to believe such an utterly incredible thing, the 
further question arises : By what instrument is such a 
plan to be carried out ? What sort of people is it to 
be which, in the present state of European culture, shall 
conquer the world for some new universal monarch ? 
For many centuries now the peoples of Europe have ceased 
to be savages or to rejoice in destructive activity for its 
own sake. All men seek behind war a final peace, behind 
exertion rest, behind confusion order ; and all men want 
to see their career crowned with the peace of a quiet 
and domestic life. For a time they may be made enthu 
siastic for war even by the mere prospect of advantage 
to the nation ; but when the call comes again and 
again in the same fashion, the delusion vanishes and 
with it the feverish strength it produced. The longing 
for peace and order returns, and the question arises : 
For what purpose am I doing and bearing all this ? 
All these feelings a world-conqueror in our time would 
first have to stamp out ; and, as the present age by its 
nature does not produce a race of savages, he would have 
to create one with deliberate art. But more would 
remain to be done. A man who has been accustomed 
from youth upwards to cultivated and settled countries, 
to prosperity and order, finds pleasure in these things 
wherever he sees them, if he is but permitted to be at 
peace for a little while ; for they represent to him the 
background of his own longing, which after all can never 


be quite rooted out ; and it is a source of pain to himself 
when he is obliged to destroy them. To offset this kindly 
feeling, so deeply implanted in man as a social being, 
and this grief and sorrow at the evils which the soldier 
brings upon the countries he conquers, a counterpoise 
must be found. There is no other than the lust for 
booty. If it becomes the soldier s dominating motive to 
acquire a fortune for himself, and if he becomes accus 
tomed, when devastating flourishing countries, to think 
of nothing but what he may gain for himself from the 
general wretchedness, then it is to be expected that the 
feelings of sympathy and pity will become silent in him. 
In addition to that barbarous brutality, a world-con 
queror of our time would have to train his people to 
coldblooded and deliberate lust for booty ; he would 
not have to punish extortions, but rather to encourage 
them. Moreover, the disgrace that naturally adheres to 
such a thing would first of all have to be cleared away, 
and robbery would have to be looked upon as the honour 
able sign of a superior mind ; it would have to be reckoned 
among great deeds and pave the way to all dignities and 
honours. Where is there in modern Europe a nation so 
lacking in honour that it could be trained up in this way ? 
Even supposing that a world-conqueror succeeded in 
reshaping a nation in this fashion ; the very means he takes 
to do it will frustrate the attainment of his object. Such 
a people will thenceforward regard the human beings, 
the countries, and the works of art that they have acquired 
by conquest, as nothing more than a means of making 
money with all speed, so that they may move on and make 
more money. They will extort rapidly, and when they 
have sucked the juice out of a thing they will throw it 
away, regardless of what may happen to it ; they will 
cut down the tree whose fruits they want to reach. For 


a man who works with such tools as these all the arts of 
seduction, persuasion, and deception will be in vain. 
Only from a distance can such men deceive anyone ; as 
soon as they are seen at close quarters, their brutal 
roughness and their shameless and insolent lust for 
booty will be obvious even to the feeblest mind ; and 
the detestation of the whole human race will cry aloud 
upon them. With such tools as these one can indeed 
plunder and lay waste the earth, and grind it down to 
stupor and chaos, but one can never establish it as a 
universal monarchy. 

205. The ideas w r e have mentioned, and all ideas of 
this kind, are products of a form of thinking which merely 
plays a game with itself and sometimes, too, gets caught 
in its own cobwebs a form of thinking which is unworthy 
of German thoroughness and earnestness. At best, 
some of these ideas, as, for example, that of a political 
equilibrium, are serviceable guiding-lines to enable one 
to find one s way about in the extensive and confused 
multiplicity of phenomena and to set it in order ; but 
to believe that these things exist in nature, or to strive 
to realize them, is the same as to expect to find the poles, 
the meridians, and the tropics, by which our survey of 
the earth is guided, actually marked and indicated on the 
surface of the globe. May it become the custom in our 
nation, not merely to think idly and as it were experi 
mentally, just to see what will come of it, but to think 
in such a way that what we think shall be true and have 
a real effect in life ! Then it will be superfluous to warn 
people against such phantoms of a political wisdom whose 
origin is foreign and which only deludes the Germans. 

This thoroughness, earnestness, and weightiness in 
our way of thinking, once we have made it our own, will 
show itself in our life as well. We are defeated ; whether 


we are now to be despised as well, and rightly despised, 
whether in addition to all other losses we are to lose 
our honour also that will still depend on ourselves. 
The fight with weapons has ended ; there arises now, 
if we so will it, the new fight of principles, of morals, of 

206. Let us give our guests a picture of faithful devo 
tion to friends and fatherland, of incorruptible uprightness 
and love of duty, of all civic and domestic virtues, to take 
home with them as a friendly gift from their hosts ; 
for they will return home at last some time or other. 
Let us be careful not to invite them to despise us ; there 
would, however, be no surer way for us to do this than if 
we either feared them beyond measure or gave up our 
own way of life and strove to resemble them in theirs. 
Be it far from us as individuals to be so unmannerly as 
to provoke or irritate individuals ; but, as to the rest, our 
safest measure will be to go our own way in all things, 
as if we were alone with ourselves, and not to establish 
any relation that is not laid upon us by absolute neces 
sity ; and the surest means to this will be for each one 
to content himself with what the old national conditions 
are able to afford him, to take up his share of the common 
burden according to his powers, but to look upon any 
favour from foreigners as a disgrace and a dishonour. 
Unfortunately, it has become an almost general European 
custom, and therefore a German custom too, for people 
to prefer to descend to the level of others, rather than 
to appear what is called singular or noticeable, when the 
choice is open to them ; indeed, the whole system of 
what are esteemed good manners may perhaps be regarded 
as based upon that one principle. Let us Germans at 
the present juncture offend rather against this code of 
manners than against something higher. Let us remain 


as we are, even though that may be an offence of this 
kind ; nay, let us become, if we can, even stronger and 
more determined, as we ought to be. It is the custom to 
tell us that we are sorely lacking in quickness and ease and 
grace, and that we grow too serious, too heavy, and too 
ponderous over everything. Let us not be in the least 
ashamed of this, but rather strive to deserve the accusa 
tion more and more fully and to an ever greater extent. 
Let us confirm ourselves in this resolve by the conviction, 
which is easily to be attained, that in spite of all the 
trouble we take, we shall never do right in the eyes of 
our accusers, unless we cease entirely to be ourselves, 
which is the same thing as ceasing to exist at all. There 
are certain peoples who, while preserving their own special 
characteristics and wishing to have them respected by 
others, yet recognize the special characteristics of other 
peoples, and permit and encourage their retention. To 
such peoples the Germans belong without a doubt ; and 
this trait is so deeply marked in their whole life in the 
world, both past and present, that very often, in order 
to be just both to contemporary foreign countries and to 
antiquity, they have been unjust to themselves. Then 
there are._other peoples, whose ego is so closely wrapped 
up in itself that it never allows them the freedom to 
detach themselves for the purpose of taking a cool and 
calm view of what is foreign to them, and who are there 
fore compelled to believe that there is only one possible 
way of existence for a civilized human being, and that is 
always the way which some chance or other has indicated 
to them alone at the time ; the rest of mankind all over 
the world have no other destiny, in their opinion, than to 
become just what they are, and ought to be extremely 
grateful to them if they take upon themselves the trouble 
of moulding them in this way. Between peoples of the , 


former type there takes place an interaction of culture 
and education which is most beneficial to the develop 
ment of man as such, and an interpenetration which none 
the less allows each one, with the goodwill of the other, 
to remain its own self. Peoples of the latter type are 
unable to form anything, for they are unable to apprehend 
anything in its actual state of existence ; they only want 
to destroy everything that exists and to create every 
where, except in themselves, a void in which they can 
reproduce their own image and never anything else. 
Even their apparent acceptance of foreign ways when 
they begin is only gracious condescension on the part of 
the tutor to the still feeble but promising pupil. Even 
the figures of the ancient world that has come to an end 
do not please them, until they have clad them in their own 
garments ; and they would call them from their graves, 
if they had the power, to train them after their own 
fashion. Far from me be the presumption of accusing 
any existing nation as a whole and without exception of 
such narrow-mindedness. Let us rather assume that 
here, too, those who express no opinion are the better 
sort. But if those who have appeared among us and 
expressed their opinions are to be judged by the opinions 
they have expressed, it seems to follow that they are to 
be placed in the class we have described. As such a 
statement appears to require proof, I adduce the following, 
passing over in silence the other manifestations of this 
spirit which are before the eyes of Europe. We have 
been at war with each other ; as for us, we are defeated, 
and they are the victors ; that is true, and is admitted ; 
with that our opponents might doubtless be contented. 
But if anyone among us went on to maintain that never 
theless we had had the just cause and deserved the victory, 
and that it was to be deplored that victory had not fallen 


to us ; would this be so very wrong, and could those 
opponents, who, of course, for their own part may likewise 
think what they will, take it amiss that we should be of 
this opinion ? But no, we must not dare to think that. 
We must at the same time recognize how wrong it is 
ever to have a will other than theirs, and to resist them ; 
we must bless our defeats as the best thing that could 
happen to us, and bless them as our greatest benefactors. 
It cannot be otherwise, and they hope this much of our 
good sense. But why should I go on expounding what 
was expounded with great exactness almost two thousand 
years ago, for example, in the Histories of Tacitus ? 
That opinion of the Romans as to the relationship of 
the conquered barbarians towards them, an opinion which 
in their case was founded on a view of things that had 
some excuse, the opinion that it was criminal rebellion 
and insurrection against divine and human laws to offer 
resistance to them, and that their arms could bring 
nothing but blessing to the nations, and their chains 
nothing but honour it is this opinion that has been 
formed about us in these days ; with great good-nature 
they expect us to hold it about ourselves, and they assume 
in advance that we do hold it. I do not take these 
utterances as evidence of arrogance and scorn ; I can 
understand how such opinions may be held in earnest 
by people who are very conceited and narrow-minded, 
and how they can honestly impute the same belief to 
their opponents, just as I believe that the Romans really 
thought so ; but I only raise a doubt as to whether those 
among us, whose conversion to that way of thinking is 
for ever impossible, can reckon upon an agreement of 
any kind whatever. 

207. We shall bring the deep contempt of foreigners 
upon ourselves if in their hearing we accuse each other, 


German races, classes, and persons, of being responsible 
for the fate that has befallen every one of us, and bitterly 
and passionately reproach each other. In the first place, 
all accusations of this kind are for the most part unfair, 
unjust, and unfounded. The causes that have brought 
about Germany s latest doom we have already indicated ; 
these causes have for centuries been native to all German 
races without exception in the same way ; the latest 
events are not the consequences of any particular error 
of any one race or its government ; they have been in 
preparation long enough, and might just as well have 
happened to us long ago, if it had depended solely on 
the causes that lie within our own selves. In this matter 
the guilt or innocence of all is, one may say, equally 
great, and a reckoning is no longer possible. When the 
final result came about in haste, it was found that the 
separate German States did not even know themselves, 
their powers, and their true situation ; how, then, could 
any one of them have the presumption to look beyond its 
own borders and pronounce upon the guilt of others a 
final judgment based on thorough knowledge ? 

208. It may be that in every race of the German 
fatherland the blame falls with more reason on one 
special class, not because it did not have more insight or 
greater ability than all the others, for in that respect 
all were equally to blame, but because it pretended that 
it had more insight and greater ability, and kept everyone 
else away from the work of administration in the various 
States. But, even if a reproach of this kind were well 
founded, who is to utter it, and why is it necessary to 
utter and discuss it, just at this moment, more loudly 
and more bitterly then ever ? We see that men of letters 
are doing this. If they spoke just as they do now in the 
days when all power and all authority were in the hands of 


that class, with the tacit approval of the decisive majority 
of the rest of mankind, who can object if they bring to 
remembrance what they then said, now that it has been 
only too well confirmed by experience ? We hear also 
that they bring certain persons by name before the 
tribunal of the people, persons who formerly stood at 
the head of affairs, that they set forth their incapacity, 
their indolence, and their evil will, and clearly show how 
from such causes such effects were bound to follow. If, 
when power was still in the hands of the accused persons, 
and when the evils that were the inevitable result of 
their administration could have been warded off, these 
writers saw what they now see and expressed it just as 
loudly ; if they then accused with the same vigour those 
whom they now find guilty, and if they left no means 
untried to rescue the fatherland out of their hands, 
and if no one listened to them ; then, they do well to 
recall to mind the warning that was scornfully rejected. 
But, if they have derived their present wisdom only from 
the course of events, from which all people since then 
have derived with them exactly the same wisdom, why 
do they now say what everyone else now knows just as 
well ? Or further, if in those days from motives of gain 
they flattered, or from motives of fear they remained 
silent before, that class and those persons on whom, now 
that they have lost powder, they pour the full stream of 
denunciation ; then, let them not forget henceforth, when 
they are stating the causes of our present miseries, to 
put with the nobility and the incompetent ministers and 
generals the writers on politics also, who know only after 
the event what ought to have been done, just like the 
common people, and who flatter the holders of power, 
but with malicious joy deride the fallen ! 

Or do they blame the errors of the past, which for all 



their blame is indestructible, only in order that they may 
not be repeated in the future ; and is it solely their zeal 
to bring about a thorough improvement in human affairs 
which makes them so bold in disregarding all considera 
tions of prudence and decency ? Gladly would we credit 
them with such goodwill, if only they were entitled by 
thorough insight and thorough understanding to have 
goodwill in this matter. It is not so much the particular 
persons who happen to have been in the highest places, 
but the connection and complication of the whole, the 
whole spirit of the age, the errors, the ignorance, shallow- 
ness, timidity, and the uncertain tread inseparable from 
these things, it is the whole way of life of the age that has 
brought these miseries upon us ; and so it is far less the 
persons who have acted than the places ; it is everyone s 
fault ; and everyone, even the violent fault-finders 
themselves, may assume with great probability that if 
they had been in the same place they would have been 
forced by their surroundings to much the same end. 
Let us not dream so much of deliberate wickedness and 
treachery ! Stupidity and indolence are in nearly every 
case sufficient to explain the things that have happened ; 
and this is a charge of which no one should entirely clear 
himself without searching self-examination. Especially in 
a state of affairs where there is in the whole mass a very 
great fneasure of indolence, the individual who is to force 
his way through must possess the power of action in a 
very high degree. So, even if the mistakes of individuals 
are ever so sharply singled out, that does not in any way 
lay bare the cause of the evil ; nor is this cause removed by 
avoiding these mistakes in future. So long as men remain 
liable to error, they cannot do otherwise than commit 
errors ; and even if they avoid those of their predecessors, 
in the infinite space of liability to error they will all too 


easily make new errors of their own. Only a complete 
regeneration, only the beginning of an entirely new spirit 
can help us. If they co-operate for the development of 
this new spirit, we shall be ready and willing to give 
them credit, not only for goodwill, but also for right and 
saving understanding. 

209. These mutual reproaches, besides being unjust 
and useless, are extremely unwise, and must degrade us 
deeply in the eyes of foreigners ; we not only make it 
easy for them to find out all about us, but positively 
force the knowledge on them in every way. If we never 
grow weary of telling them how confused and stale all 
things were with us, and how miserably we were governed, 
must they not believe that no matter how they behave 
towards us they are none the less much too good for us, 
and can never become too bad ? Must they not believe 
that, because of our great clumsiness and helplessness, 
we are bound to accept with the humblest thanks any 
and every thing out of the rich store of their art of govern 
ment, administration, and legislation that they have 
already presented to us, or have in contemplation for us 
in the future ? Is there any need for us to confirm their 
already not unfavourable opinion of themselves and the 
low opinion they have of us ? Do not certain utterances, 
which would otherwise have to be taken as evidence of 
bitter scorn for example, that they have been the first 
to bring a fatherland to German countries, which previ 
ously had none, or that they have abolished that slavish 
dependence of persons, as such, on other persons, which 
used to be established by law among us do not such 
utterances, when we remember what we ourselves have 
said, show themselves as a repetition of our own statements 
and an echo of our own flattering speeches ? It is a 
disgrace, which we Germans share with no other of the 


European peoples whose fate in other respects has been 
similar to ours, that, as soon as ever foreign arms ruled 
over us, we behaved as if we had long been awaiting this 
moment, and sought to do ourselves a good turn quickly, 
before it was too late, by pouring forth a stream of denun 
ciation on our governments and our rulers, whom we 
had formerly flattered in a way that offended against 
good taste, and by railing against everything represented 
by the word " fatherland." 

210. How shall those of us who are not guilty ward off 
the disgrace from our heads and let the guilty ones stand 
by themselves ? There is a means. No more scurrilous 
denunciations will be printed the moment it is certain 
that no more will be bought, and as soon as their authors 
and publishers can no longer reckon on readers tempted to 
buy them for lack of something better to do, by idle 
curiosity and love of gossip, or by the malicious joy of 
seeing those men humiliated who at one time instilled 
into them the painful feeling of respect. Let everyone 
who feels the disgrace hand back with fitting contempt a 
libel that is offered him to read ; let him do this, although 
he believes he is the only one who acts in this way, until 
it becomes the custom among us for every man of honour 
to do the same ; and then, without any enforcement of 
restrictions on books, we shall soon be free of this scanda 
lous portion of our literature. 

211. Finally, we debase ourselves most of all before 
foreigners when we lay ourselves out to flatter them. 
In former days certain persons among us made themselves 
contemptible, ludicrous, and nauseating beyond measure 
by burning thick incense before our own rulers on every 
occasion, and by caring for neither sense nor decency, 
neither taste nor good manners, when they thought 
there was a chance of delivering a flattering address. 


This practice has ceased at this time, and these paeans of 
praise have been transformed in some cases into words 
of abuse. However, in order not to get out of practice, 
as it were, we gave our clouds of incense another direction 
and turned them towards the place where power now 
resides. Even the old way and not only the flattery 
itself, but also the fact that it was not declined could 
not but give pain to every serious-minded German ; 
still, we kept it to ourselves. Are we now going to make 
foreigners also the witnesses of this base craving of ours, 
and of the great clumsiness with which we give vent to it ; 
and are we thus going to add to the contemptible exhibi 
tion of our baseness the ludicrous demonstration of our 
lack of adroitness? For, when we set about these things, 
we are lacking in all the refinement that the foreigner 
possesses ; so as to avoid not being heard, we lay it on 
thick and exaggerate everything ; we begin straight 
away with deifications and place our heroes among the 
stars. Another thing is that we give the impression of 
being driven to these paeans of praise chiefly by fear and 
terror ; but there is nothing more ridiculous than a 
frightened man who praises the beauty and graciousness 
of a creature which in fact he takes to be a monster, 
and which he merely seeks to bribe by his flattery not to 
swallow him up. 

212. Or are these hymns of praise perhaps not flattery, 
but the genuine expression of reverence and admiration 
which they are compelled to pay to the great genius who, 
according to them, now directs the affairs of mankind ? 
How little they know, in this case too, the character of 
true greatness ! In all ages and among all peoples true 
greatness has remained the same in this respect, that it 
was not vain ; just as, on the other hand, whatever 
displayed vanity has always been beyond a doubt base 


and petty. True greatness, resting on itself, finds no 
pleasure in monuments erected by contemporaries, or 
in being called " The Great," or in the shrieking applause 
and praises of the mob ; rather, it rejects these things 
with fitting contempt, and awaits first the verdict on 
itself from its own indwelling judge, and then the public 
verdict from the judgment of posterity. True greatness 
has always had this further characteristic : it is filled with 
awe and reverence in the face of dark and mysterious 
fate, it is mindful of the ever-rolling wheel of destiny, 
and never allows itself to be counted great or happy before 
its end. Hence, those who hymn its praises contradict 
themselves, and by using words they make their words a 
lie. If they believed that the object of their pretended 
veneration was really great, they would humbly admit 
that he was exalted above their acclamations and lauda 
tion, and they would honour him by reverent silence. 
By making it their business to praise him they show that 
in fact they take him to be petty and base, and so vain 
that their hymns of praise can give him pleasure, and 
that they hope thereby to divert some evil from them 
selves, or procure themselves some benefit. 

That cry of enthusiasm : " What a sublime genius ! 
What profound wisdom ! What a comprehensive plan ! " 
what after all does it mean when we look at it properly ? 
It means that the genius is so great that we, too, can 
fully understand it, the wisdom so profound that we, too, 
can see through it, the plan so comprehensive that we, 
too, are able to imitate it completely. Hence it means 
that he who is praised has about the same measure of 
greatness as he who praises ; and yet not quite, for the 
latter, of course, understands the former fully and is 
superior to him ; hence, he stands above him and, if he 
only exerted himself thoroughly, could no doubt achieve 


something even greater. He must have a very good 
opinion of himself who believes that he can pay court 
acceptably in this way ; and the one who is praised must 
have a very low opinion of himself if he finds pleasure in 
such tributes. 

213. No! Good, earnest, steady German men and 
countrymen, far from our spirit be such a lack of under 
standing, and far be such defilement from our language, 
which is formed to express the truth. Let us leave it 
to foreigners to burst into jubilation and amazement 
at every new phenomenon, to make a new standard of 
greatness every decade, to create new gods, and to speak 
blasphemies in order to please human beings. Let our A 
standard of greatness be the old one : that alone is great 
which is capable of receiving the ideas which always bring 
nothing but salvation upon the peoples, and which is 
inspired by those ideas. But, as regards the living, let 
us leave the verdict to the judgment of posterity. 



214. IN the addresses which I conclude to-day, I have 
spoken aloud to you first of all, but I have had in view 
the whole German nation, and my intention has been to 
gather round me, in the room in which you are bodily 
present, everyone in the domain of the German language 
who is able to understand me. If I have succeeded in 
throwing into any heart which has beaten here in front of 
me a spark which will continue to glow there and to 
influence its life, it is not my intention that these hearts < 
should remain apart and lonely ; I want to gather to them_ 
from over the whole of our common soil men of similaii v 
sentiments and resolutions, and to link them together] f 
so that at this central point a: single, continumis/7nd 
tmceaslflg^rlame ot patriotic disposition may be^kmdled, 
wliidi Will spread over the whole soil of "the "fatherianS 
to its utmost boundaries^ These addresses have not been 
meant for the entertainment of indolent ears and eyes 
in the present age ; on the contrary, I want to know once 
for all, and everyone of like disposition shall know it with 
me, whether there is anyone besides ourselves whose way^of__ 
thinking is akin to ours. Every German who still believes 
himself to be a member of a nation, who thinks highly 
and nobly of that nation, hopes for it, ventures, endures, 
and suffers for it, shall at last have the uncertainty of his 



belief removed ; he shall see clearly whether he is right 
or is only a fool and a dreamer ; from now on he shall 
either pursue his way with the glad consciousness of 
certainty, or else firmly and vigorously renounce a 
fatherland here below, and find in the heavenly one his 
only consolation. To them, not as individuals in our 
everyday limited life, but as representatives of the nation, 
and so through their ears to the whole nation, these 
addresses make this appeal : 

215. Centuries have come and gone since you were last 
convoked as you are to-day ; in such numbers ; in a cause 
so great, so urgent, and of such concern to all and every 
one ; so entirely as a nation and as Germans. Never 
again will the offer come to you in this way. If you now 
take no heed and withdraw into yourselves, if you again 
let these addresses go by you as if they were meant merely 
to tickle your ears, or if you regard them as something 
strange and fabulous, then no human being will ever take 
you into account again. Hearken now r at last ; reflect 
now at last. Go not from your place this time at least 
without first making a firm resolution ; and let everyone 
who hears my voice make this resolution by himself and 
for himself, just as if he were alone and had to do everything 
alone. If very many individuals think in this way, there 
will soon be formed a large community which will be 
fused into a single close-connected force. But if, on the 
contrary, each one, leaving himself out, puts his hope in 
the rest and leaves the matter to others, then there will 
be no others, and all together will remain as they were 
before. Make it on the spot, this resolution. Do not 
say : " Let us rest a little longer, let us sleep and dream a 
little longer, till the improvement comes of itself." It 
will never come of itself. He who has once let yesterday 
go by, which would have been a more convenient time 


for reflection, and yet cannot use his will to-day, will be 
still less able to do so to-morrow. Every delay makes us 
all the more indolent, and cradles us still more deeply 
in the habit of familiarity with our wretched condition. 
Then, too, the external motives to reflection can never be 
stronger or more urgent. He who is not aroused by the 
present situation has beyond a doubt lost all power of 
feeling. You are convoked to make a firm and final resolu 
tion and decision ; and in no wise to give a command, an 
order, an incitement to others, but an incitement to your 
selves. You must make a resolution of a kind which each 
one can carry out only by himself and in his own person. 
In this matter the leisurely indication of an intention does 
not suffice, nor the will to exert a will at some future 
time, nor yet the indolent resolve to submit some time 
or other to what is proposed, if one should meanwhile of 
one s self have become a better man. No, you are called 
upon to make a resolve that will itself be part of your 
life, a resolve that is itself a deed within you, that endures 
there and continues to hold sway without being moved or 
shaken, a resolve that never grows cold, until it hasj 
attained its object. 

216. Or is, perchance, the root, from which alone such 
a resolution can spring and have an influence on life, 
completely destroyed, and has it disappeared ? Is your 
whole being in truth and in fact thinned and reduced 
to an empty shadow, without sap and blood and power 
of motion ; reduced to a dream in which bright visions 
are begotten and busily pursue each other, but where the 
body lies stiff and as it were dead ? This age has long been 
told to its face, and has heard it repeated in every shape 
and form, that this or something like it is the general 
opinion. Its spokesmen have believed that people who 
said this only wanted to slander them, and have regarded 


it as a challenge to themselves to slander in return, 
supposing that the natural order of things would thereby 
be restored. Yet there has not been the least trace of 
any alteration or improvement. But if you have under 
stood the indictment, if it has succeeded in making you 
indignant, then by your acts give the lie to those who 
think and speak thus of you ; show before the eyes of 
all the world that you are different, and then those men 
in the eyes of all the world will be convicted of untruth. 
Perchance it was precisely with the intention of being 
refuted by you in this way, and because they despaired 
of any other means of rousing you, that they spoke of 
you as harshly as they did. If that was the case, how 
much better disposed towards you they were than those 
who flatter you, in order that you may be kept in sloth 
and quietude and all-unheeding thoughtlessness ! 

However weak and powerless you may be, never before 
has clear and calm reflection been made so easy for you as 
at the present time. The thing that really plunged us 
into confusion as to our position, that caused our thought 
lessness, our blind acquiescence in all that happened, was 
our sweet self-satisfaction ; we were satisfied with our 
selves and our way of life. Things had gone on all right 
hitherto and continued to go on just the same. If anyone 
challenged us to reflection, we triumphantly pointed out 
to him, in place of any other refutation, our existence and 
continuance, which came about without any reflection 
on our part. But things went on all right solely because 
we had not been put to the test. Since then we have gone 
through it. Since that time the deceptions, the illusions, 
the false consolation, by which we all led each other 
mutually astray, have surely collapsed. The inborn 
prejudices which, without proceeding from any one place, 
spread themselves like a natural fog over everyone, and 


enveloped everyone in the same twilight surely they have 
vanished now ! That twilight no longer binds our eyes ; 
moreover, it can no longer serve us as an excuse. Here 
we stand now, bare and empty, with all external coverings 
and hangings taken away, just as we are ourselves. Now 
there must be revealed what that self is or is not. 

217. Perhaps someone may come forward from among 
you and ask me : " What gives you alone of all German 
men and writers the special task, the vocation, and the 
right to assemble us and press your views upon us ? 
Would not each one of the thousands of Germany s 
men of letters have just: as much right to it as you ? 
Not one of them does it, but you alone thrust yourself 
forward." I answer that, of course, everyone would have 
the same right as I have, that I am doing it solely because 
not one of them has done it before me, and that I would 
be silent if another had already done it. This was the 
first step to the goal of a thorough reformation ; someone 
or other had to take it. I was the first one to see it 
vividly ; therefore it fell to me to take the first step. 
After this some other step will be the second ; all have 
now the same right to take this step ; but once again 
it will in fact be one man, and one man only, who does 
take it. There must always be one who is first ; then let 
him be first who can ! 

218. Without troubling yourselves about this objection, 
let your gaze rest for a little while upon the view to which 
we have already conducted you, viz., in what an enviable 
condition Germany would be, and the world as well, if 
the former had known how to make use of the good for 
tune due to its position and to recognize its advantages. 
Let your eye dwell upon what both are now, and make 
yourselves feel to the quick the pain and indignation 
which must seize every noble-minded man when he 


beholds it. Turn back then to your own selves and see 
that it is you whom time will free from the errors of the 
preceding ages and from whose eyes it will remove the 
mist, if you permit it ; that it is granted to you, as to 
no generation before you, to undo what has been done 
and to delete the discreditable intervening period from 
the pages of German history. 

Review in your own minds the various conditions 
between which you now have to make a choice. If 
you continue in your dullness and helplessness, all the 
evils of serfdom are awaiting you ; deprivations, humilia 
tions, the scorn and arrogance of the conqueror ; you will 
be driven and harried in every corner, because you are 
in the wrong and in the way everywhere ; until, by the 
sacrifice of your nationality and your language, you have 
purchased for yourselves some subordinate and petty 
place, and until in this way you gradually die out as a 
people. If, on the other hand, you bestir yourselves and 
play the man, you will continue in a tolerable and hon 
ourable existence, and you will see growing up among 
and around you a generation that will be the promise for 
you and for the Germans of most illustrious renown. 
You will see in spirit the German name rising by means 
of this generation to be the most glorious among all 
peoples ; you will see this nation the regenerator and 
re-creator of the world. 

219. It depends on you whether you want to be the 
end, and to be the last of a generation unworthy of respect 
and certain to be despised by posterity even beyond its 
due a generation of whose history (if, indeed, there can 
be any history in the barbarism that will then begin) your 
descendants will read the end with gladness, saying that 
its fate was just ; or whether you want to be the beginning 
and the point of development for a new age glorious 


beyond all your conceptions, and the generation from whom 
posterity will reckon the year of their salvation. Reflect 
that you are the last in whose power this great alteration 
lies. You have, even in your day, heard the Germans 
spoken of as one ; you have seen or have heard of a visible 
sign of their unity, an empire and an imperial federa 
tion ; among you voices have made themselves heard 
from time to time which were inspired by the higher 
love of fatherland. Those who come after you will 
accustom themselves to other ideas, will adopt alien 
forms and another way of conducting life and affairs ; 
and how long will it be then before there is no one living 
who has seen or heard of Germans ? 

220. What is demanded of you is not much. You are 
only bidden to undertake to pull yourselves together for 
a short time, and to think over that which lies immediately 
and openly before your eyes. On that alone you are to 
form a definite opinion, to remain true to it, and utter 
and express it in your own immediate surroundings. 
It is an assumption, it is our sure conviction, that the 
result of this thinking will prove to be the same with all 
of you, and that, if only you really think and do not go on 
in the old heedlessness, you will think alike; that, if 
only you put on the spirit and do not remain on the level 
of mere vegetable existence, unity and concord of spirit 
will come of itself. But, once that has come about, 
everything else that we need will be added to us without 
our seeking. 

Now, this effort of thought is in fact demanded of each 
one of you, who is still capable of thinking for himself 
about a thing that lies plainly before his eyes. You have 
time for it ; there is no question of the present moment 
bewildering you or taking you by surprise ; the documents 
recording the negotiations conducted with you still lie 


before your eyes. Do not lay them aside until you have 
made up your minds. Do not, O, do not allow yourselves 
to relax by trusting in others or in anything whatever 
that lies outside yourselves, nor yet by the foolish wisdom 
of the time, which holds that the ages make themselves, 
without any human aid, by means of some unknown force. 
These addresses have not grown weary of impressing upon 
you that nothing whatever can help you except yourselves ; 
and they find it necessary to repeat it up to the last 
moment. It may be that rain and dew and fruitful 
or unfruitful seasons are made by a force unknown to us 
and not in our power ; but all human relationships, the 
whole special province of man, are made only by men 
themselves and by absolutely no power outside them. 
Only when they are all equally blind and ignorant do 
they fall victims to this hidden power ; but it rests with 
them not to be blind and ignorant. It is true that 
the degree of evil, be it greater or less, which will befall 
us may depend partly on that unknown power ; but it 
will depend very specially on the understanding and good 
will of those to whom we are subjected. But whether 
it will ever go well with us again depends entirely on 
ourselves ; and it is certain that no well-being whatever 
will come to us again unless we procure it for ourselves, 
and especially unless each one of us, in his own way, 
acts and works as if he were alone, and as if upon him 
alone depended the salvation of generations to come. 

221. This is what you have to do. These addresses 
solemnly appeal to you to do it without delay. 

To you, young men, they solemnly appeal. I, who 
have long ceasecTTo" belong to your ranks, am of the 
opinion, which I have expressed in these addresses, that 
you are even more capable than others of any thought 
that lies outside the common round, and more susceptible 


to all that is good and vigorous, because your age lies 
nearer to the years of childlike innocence and of nature. 
Quite otherwise is this trait in you regarded by the majority 
of the older world. They accuse you of arrogance, of 
hasty and presumptuous judgment exceeding your powers, 
of always thinking yourselves in the right, of a mania for 
innovation. Yet they only smile good-humouredly at 
these failings of yours. All this, they think, is founded 
solely on your lack of knowledge of the world that is to 
say, of the general state of human corruption ; for they have 
no eyes for anything else in the world. You have courage 
now, they think, only because you hope to find helpers of 
like mind, and do not know the grim and stiff-necked 
resistance which will be offered to your plans for the 
better. Just wait a little while, they say ; when once the 
youthful fire of your imagination has died away, when you 
have come to learn the general state of selfishness, sloth- 
fulness, and dislike for work, when you yourselves have 
once properly tasted the sweetness of going on in an accus 
tomed groove, then the desire and the will to be better 
and cleverer than all the rest will depart from you. This 
good hope which they have of you is not based on thin 
air ; they have found it confirmed in their own person. 
They must confess that in the days of their foolish youth 
they dreamed of improving the world, just as you do 
now ; nevertheless, as they grew more mature they became 
as tame and peaceful as you see them at present. I 
believe them ; I have myself, even in my own not very 
long experience, seen young men, who at first aroused 
other hopes, none the less at a later stage fully come up to 
the well-meaning expectations of this age of maturity. 
Do this no longer, young men ; for if you do, how can a 
better generation ever begin ? The glow of youth will, 
it is true, fall from you, and the flame of your imagina- 


live power will cease to find nourishment in itself ; but 
seize this flame and concentrate it by clear thinking, 
make the art of such thinking your very own and you will 
have added unto you the finest equipment of man, 
which is character. In and by that clear thinking main 
tain the source of the eternal bloom of youth ; however 
much your body may grow old or your knees tremble, 
your mind will re-create itself in ever-renewed freshness, 
and your character will stand fast and upright. Embrace 
at once the opportunity that here presents itself to you ; 
think clearly over the subject that is proffered to you for 
reflection ; the clearness that has dawned for you on 
this one point will gradually spread itself over all the, 
others too. 

222. These addresses appeal solemnly to you, old men. 
You have just heard what people think of you ; they say 
it to your face, and I, the speaker, frankly add thereto for 
myself that, with regard to the great majority among 
you, apart from the exceptions which are undoubtedly 
not rare and which are all the more worthy of honour, 
what people say is entirely justified. Go through the 
history of the last two or three decades ; everyone except 
you yourselves is agreed (and even among yourselves 
each one is agreed except as regards the special branch 
with which he himself is concerned) that, always apart 
from the exceptions and with reference only to the majority, 
in every branch, in science as well as in the affairs of life, 
more inefficiency and selfishness was found among the 
older men than anywhere else. The whole contemporary 
world looked on and saw how every man that wished for 
a better and more perfect state of things had to fight, not 
only against his own lack of clearness and his other 
environment his greatest fight was against you ; the 
world saw that you had firmly resolved that nothing must 



come to the front which you had not known about or 
done, that you regarded every stirring of thought as an 
insult to your intelligence, and that you left no power 
unused by which you might become the victors in this 
fight against the better, as indeed you were generally 
the victors. Thus, you were the force which held up 
all the improvements which kindly nature offered to us 
from her ever-youthful lap, until you were gathered to 
the dust (dust that you were already !), and the younger 
generation in the war with you had become like you and 
took over your old way of administration. You only 
need to act now as you have hitherto acted in regard to 
all proposals for improvement ; you only need to put 
higher than the common weal your vanity in regarding 
it as a point of honour that there shall be nothing under 
heaven that you have not already discovered ; then, by 
this last fight you will be spared any further fighting ; 
no improvement will take place, but deterioration will 
follow on deterioration, so that you will still have many 
an occasion to rejoice. 

I do not want you to think that I despise old age as 
such, or run it down. If only the source of original life 
and of its continued movement has by means of freedom 
been taken up into life, clearness grows, and power with 
it, so long as life lasts. Such a life becomes better as it 
is lived, the clay of its earthly origin falling away more and 
more ; it ennobles itself and reaches upwards towards 
eternal life and blossoms out to meet it. In such a life 
experience does not reconcile itself to evil, but only 
makes clearer the means, and brings more skill in the art, 
of fighting evil triumphantly. For the deterioration due 
to increasing age, the times we live in are solely to blame ; 
such deterioration must be the result wherever society 
is very corrupt. It is not nature that corrupts us ; nature 


creates us in innocence ; society corrupts us. He who once 
surrenders himself to its influence must in the nature 
of things become worse and worse, the longer he is 
exposed to this influence. It would be worth while 
to examine from this point of view the history of other 
ages that have been very corrupt, and to see, for example, 
whether under the government of the Roman emperors 
what was bad did not become worse and worse with 
increasing age. 

So, among you old men and men of experience it is 
first to those who form the exception that these addresses 
solemnly appeal. Support, strengthen, and give counsel 
in this matter to the younger generation who reverently 
direct their gaze towards you. But to you others who 
form the majority the solemn appeal of these addresses 
is this : you are not asked to help, but just for this once 
do not interfere ; do not put yourselves in the way, as 
you have always done hitherto, with your wisdom and 
your thousand grave objections. This matter, like every 
other matter of reason in the world, has not a thousand 
aspects, but only one ; and that is one of the thousand 
things you do not know. If your wisdom could bring 
salvation, it would have saved us before this, for it is you 
who have advised us hitherto. That is now, like every 
thing else, in vain, and shall not be brought up against 
you any more. But learn at long last to know yourselves, 
and be silent. 

223. These addresses appeal solemnly to you, men of 
business. With few exceptions you have hitherto been 
at heart hostile to abstract thought, and to every science 
that wished to be something for its own sake, although you 
put on an air of superiority and treated all that sort of 
thing with contempt. You kept the men who pursued 
such subjects, and the proposals they made, as far from 


you as you possibly could ; to be called lunatics, or 
advised to betake themselves to a madhouse, was the 
thanks they could most generally reckon on getting from 
you. They for their part did not dare to express them 
selves about you with the same frankness, because they 
were dependent on you ; but, in their inmost hearts, their 
true opinion of you was this, that with few exceptions 
you are shallow babblers and puffed-up braggarts, half- 
educated men who merely ran through a course at school, 
blind men who have to feel their way and creep along in 
the old groove, and who neither want nor are capable of 
anything else. By your actions convict them of lying. 
For this purpose seize the opportunity now offered to 
you ; lay aside your contempt of profound thought and 
science ; let yourselves be told what you do not know, 
then listen and learn ; otherwise your accusers will carry 
their point. 

224. These addresses appeal solemnly to you, thinkers, 
scholars, and men of letters, to such of you as are still 
worthy of the name. The reproach that men of affairs 
brought against you was in a certain sense not unjust. 
Often you went on in the sphere of pure thought too 
unconcernedly, without troubling yourselves about the 
actual world, or trying to find out how the two might be 
brought into connection ; you described your own world, 
and left the actual one too much alone, despising and 
scorning it. It is true that all regulation and formation 
of actual life must proceed from a higher regulating idea, 
and that going along in the accustomed way is not enough ; 
that is an eternal truth, and in God s name crushes with 
unconcealed contempt everyone who dares to occupy him 
self with affairs without knowing this. Nevertheless, 
between the idea and the act of introducing it into every 
separate form of life there lies a great gulf. To fill up 


this gulf is not only the work of the man of affairs, who 
indeed must previously have learnt enough to be able 
to understand you, but the work also of you, who in the 
world of thought must not forget life. At this point 
both of you meet. Instead of looking askance at each 
other across the gulf and depreciating each other, rather 
let each party be zealous to fill up the gulf from his side 
and so pave the way to union. Finally, comprehend 
that both of you are as necessary to each other as head 
and arm are necessary to each other. 

These addresses appeal solemnly in other respects as well 
to you, thinkers, scholars, and men of letters, to such of you 
as are still worthy of the name. Your complaints about 
the general shallowness, thoughtlessness, and vagueness, 
about conceitedness and the inexhaustible flow of idle 
chatter, about the contempt for seriousness and thorough 
ness that prevail in all classes, may be true, as indeed they 
are. But then, what class is it which has brought up all 
these classes, which has turned everything scientific into 
a game for them, and has trained them from their earliest 
youth to that conceitedness and idle chatter ? Who is it 
that continues to instruct the generations that have left 
school ? The most obvious cause of the stupidity of the 
age is that it has read itself stupid with the works which 
you have written. Why do you, nevertheless, continue 
to make it your business to keep such indolent people 
entertained, regardless of the fact that they have learnt 
nothing and want to learn nothing ? Why do you call 
them " the public," flatter them by making them your 
judges, set them on against your rivals, and seek by every 
means to win over this blind and confused mob to your 
side ? Finally, why do you give them, even in your 
reviewing establishments and journals, not only the 
material, but also the model for their hasty judgments, by 


delivering judgment yourselves as the fancy seizes you, 
without any connecting principle and usually without 
taste, in a way that the meanest of your readers could 
equal ? If you do not all think like this, if even yet there 
are better-disposed writers among you, why do they not 
unite to put an end to the evil ? Especially with refer 
ence to our men of business ; they ran through a course 
at school under you ; you say it yourselves. Why did 
you not make use of the time they spent with you to instil 
into them at any rate some silent respect for the sciences, 
and especially to shatter betimes the conceit of high-born 
youths and to show them that, when it comes to thinking, 
neither rank nor birth are of any avail ? If perchance 
even at that time you flattered them and gave them 
prominence beyond their merits, you must now bear the 
burden of what you yourselves have created. 

They are willing to pardon you, these addresses, on 
the assumption that you had not grasped the importance 
of your business ; they solemnly appeal to you to make 
yourselves acquainted from this very hour with its impor 
tance, and no longer to carry it on as if it were merely a 
trade. Learn to respect yourselves, show by your actions 
that you do so, and the world will respect you. The first 
proof of it you will give by the influence you yourselves 
exert on the resolution that is here proposed, and by the 
way in which you conduct yourselves in connection 

225. These addresses appeal solemnly to you, princes 
of Germany. Those who in their dealings with you act 
as if no one ought to say anything whatever to you, or 
could have occasion to say anything, are contemptible 
flatterers ; they wickedly slander you and no one else ; 
put them far from you. The truth is that you are born 
just as ignorant as all the rest of us, and that you must 


listen and learn just as we must, if you are to emerge from 
this state of natural ignorance. Your share in bringing 
about the fate that has befallen you together with your 
peoples has been stated here in the mildest and, we 
believe, the only just and equitable way ; and unless you 
are willing to listen to flattery only, but never to the 
truth, you can have no complaint to make against these 
addresses. Let all this be forgotten, in the same way that 
all the rest of us wish that our share of the blame may be 
forgotten. For you too, as for all of us, a new life now 
begins. O, that this voice of mine might penetrate to 
you through the whole environment which is wont to 
make you inaccessible ! With proud self-reliance it may 
say to you : you rule over peoples more loyal, more docile, 
more worthy of happiness than any princes have ever 
ruled over in any age or any nation. They have a sense 
of freedom and a capacity for it ; but they followed you 
into a bloody war against what seemed to them freedom, 
because you willed it. Some among you willed otherwise 
later, and they followed you into what must have seemed 
to them a war of extirpation against one of the last 
remnants of German independence and autonomy, again 
because you willed it so. Since then they have been bearing 
and enduring the oppressive burden of our common woes ; 
and they cease not to be loyal to you, to cleave to you 
with intense devotion, and to love you as their divinely 
appointed guardians. If you could only observe them 
without their knowing it ; if you could only escape from 
that environment, which does not always present the 
loveliest aspect of humanity to you, and descend into the 
houses of the citizen and the cottages of the peasant, 
there to follow and reflect upon the quiet and secluded 
life of these classes of society, with whom the qualities 
of loyalty and uprightness, so rare now among the upper 


classes, seem to have taken refuge ; O, then, beyond a 
doubt you would be filled with a resolve to think more 
earnestly than ever how help might be brought to them. 
These addresses have suggested to you a means of help 
which they deem certain, thoroughgoing, and decisive. 
Let your counsellors take counsel among themselves as 
to whether they too are of this opinion, or whether they 
know a better means ; only it must be equally decisive. 
But the conviction that something must happen, and must 
happen without delay, and that something thorough 
going and decisive must happen, and that the time for 
half-measures and temporary expedients is over, this 
conviction I would have these addresses bring forth in 
you yourselves, if they can, seeing that they still have 
the greatest confidence in your uprightness. 

226. To all you Germans, whatever position you may 
occupy in society, these addresses solemnly appeal ; let 
every one of you, who can think, think first of all about 
the subject here suggested, and let each do for it 
what lies nearest to him individually in the position 
he occupies. 

227. Your forefathers unite themselves with these 
addresses, and make a solemn appeal to you. Think that 
in my voice there are mingled the voices of your ancestors 
of the hoary past, who with their own bodies stemmed 
the onrush of Roman world-dominion, who with their 
blood won the independence of those mountains, plains, 
and rivers which under you have fallen a prey to the 
foreigner. They call to you : " Act for us ; let the 
memory of us which you hand on to posterity be just 
as honourable and without reproach as it was when it 
came to you, when you took pride in it and in your 
descent from us. Until now, the resistance we made has 
been regarded as great and wise and noble ; we seemed 


the consecrated and the inspired in the divine world- 
purpose. If our race dies out with you, our honour will 
be turned to shame and our wisdom to foolishness. 
Fof if, indeed, the German stock is to be swallowed up in 
Roman civilization, it were better that it had fallen before 
the Rome of old than before a Rome of to-day. The 
former we resisted and conquered ; by the latter you 
have been ground to dust. Seeing that this is so, you 
shall now not conquer them with temporal weapons ; 
your spirit alone shall rise up against them and stand 
erect. To you has fallen the greater destiny, to found 
the empire of the spirit and of reason, and completely to 
annihilate the rule of brute physical force in the world. 
If you do this, then you are worthy of your descent from 


228. Then, too, there mingle with these voices the 
spirits of your more recent forefathers, those who fell in 
the holy war for the freedom of belief and of religion. 
" Save our honour too," they cry to you. " To us it 
was not entirely clear what we fought for ; besides the 
lawful resolve not to let ourselves be dictated to by exter 
nal force in matters of conscience, there was another 
and a higher spirit driving us, which never fully revealed 
itself to us. To you it is revealed, this spirit, if you have 
the power of vision in the spiritual world ; it beholds you 
with eyes clear and sublime. The varied and confused 
mixture of sensuous and spiritual motives that has hitherto 
ruled the world shall be displaced, and spirit alone, pure 
and freed from all sensuous motives, shall take the helm of 
human affairs. It was in order that this spirit might 
have freedom to develop and grow to independent 
existence it was for this that we poured forth our blood. 
It is for you to justify and give meaning to our sacrifice, 
by setting this spirit to fulfil its purpose and to rule the 


world. If this does not come about as the final goal to 
which the whole previous development of our nation has 
been tending, then the battles we fought will turn out 
to be a vain and fleeting farce, and the freedom of 
conscience and of spirit that we won is a vain word, 
if from now onwards spirit and conscience are to be no 


229. There comes a solemn appeal to you from your 
descendants not yet born. " You boast of your fore 
fathers," they cry to you, " and link yourselves with pride 
to a noble line. Take care that the chain does not 
break off with you ; see to it that we, too, may boast of 
you and use you as an unsullied link to connect ourselves 
with the same illustrious line. Do not force us to be 
ashamed of our descent from you as from base and 
slavish barbarians ; do not compel us to conceal our 
origin, or to fabricate a strange one and to take a strange 
name, lest we be at once and without further examina 
tion rejected and trodden underfoot. As the next 
generation that proceeds from you turns out to be, 
so will your reputation be in history ; honourable, if 
they bear honourable witness for you, but disgraceful 
even beyond your due, if your descendants may not speak 
for you, and the conqueror makes your history. Never 
yet has a conqueror had sufficient inclination or sufficient 
knowledge to judge the conquered justly. The more 
he depreciates them, the more just does he himself stand 
out. Who can know what great deeds, what excellent 
institutions, what noble customs of many a people in the 
ancient world have fallen into oblivion, because their 
descendants were forced under the yoke, while the 
conqueror wrote an account of them that suited his 
purpose, and there was none to contradict him ! " 

230. A solemn appeal comes to you even from foreign 


countries, in so far as they still understand themselves 
even to the slightest extent, and still have an eye for 
their true advantage. Yea, in all nations there are still 
some souls who cannot even yet believe that the great 
promises of a realm of justice, reason, and truth for 
the human race are vain and naught but a baseless delu- i 
sion, and who, therefore, assume that the present age of 
iron is but a transition to a better state. These souls, 
and in them the whole of modern humanity, count upon 
you. A large part of modern humanity is descended 
from us, and the rest have received from us their religion i 
and all their civilization. The former solemnly appeal 
to us by the soil of our common fatherland, which was 
their cradle, too, and which they have left free for us, 
the latter by the culture they have received from us as 
the pledge of a loftier bliss both appeal to us to preserve 
ourselves for them too and for their sake, just as we have 
always been, and not to let the whole organism of the new 
race that has arisen be violently deprived of this member 
so important to it ; so that, when they come to need our 
counsel, our example, and our co-operation in striving 
towards the true goal of earthly life, they will not miss us, 
to their pain. 

231. All ages, all wise and good men who have ever 
breathed upon this earth, all their thoughts and intuitions 
of something loftier, mingle with these voices and sur 
round you and lift up imploring hands to you ; even, if 
one may say so, providence and the divine plan in creat 
ing a race of men, a plan which exists only to be thought 
out by men and to be brought by men into the actual 
world the divine plan, I say, solemnly appeals to you 
to save its honour and its existence. Whether those were 
right who believed that mankind must always grow 
better, and that thoughts of a true order and worth of man 


were no idle dreams, but the prophecy and pledge of the 
real world that is to be whether they are to be proved 
right, or those who continue to slumber in an animal and 
vegetable existence and mock at every flight into higher 
worlds to give a final and decisive judgment on this 
point is a work for you. The old world with its glory 
and its greatness, as well as its defects, has fallen by its 
own unworthiness and by the violence of your fathers. 
If there is truth in what has been expounded in these 
addresses, then are you of all modern peoples the one in 
whom the seed of human perfection most unmistakably 
lies, and to whom the lead in its development is committed. 
If you perish in this your essential nature, then there 
perishes together with you every hope of the whole 
human race for salvation from the depths of its miseries. 
Do not console yourselves with an opinion based on thin 
air and depending on the mere recurrence of cases that 
have already happened ; do not hope that when the old 
civilization has fallen a new one will arise once more 
out of a semi-barbarous nation on the ruins of the first. 
In ancient times there was such a people in existence, 
equipped with every requirement for such a destiny and 
quite well known to the civilized people, who have left 
us their description of it ; and they themselves, if they 
had been able to imagine their own downfall, would have 
been able to discover in this people the means of recon 
struction. To us also the whole surface of the globe is 
quite well known and all the peoples that dwell thereon. 
But do we know a people akin to the ancestral stock of 
the modern world, of whom we may have the same 
expectation ? I think that everyone who does not merely 
base his hopes and beliefs on idle dreaming, but investi 
gates thoroughly and thinks, will be bound to answer this 
question with a NO. There is, therefore, no way out ; 


if you go under, all humanity goes under with you, with 
out hope of any future restoration. 

This it was, gentlemen, which at the end of these 
addresses I wanted and was bound to impress upon you, 
who to me are the representatives of the nation, and 
through you upon the whole nation. 



MAR 22 197? 

DD Fichte, Johann Gottlieb 

199 Addresses to the German 

F533 nation